Face To Face
Jamaica Suk's new EP coyly interlaces layers of weird sounds into traditional song structures. It's techno at heart, but there's something more to it. Consider the title track: it's driven by a steady, deep beat - a delayed, percussive synth line slowly becoming more and more prominent. Nothing too out of the box - but, around the 4 minute mark, she starts to interpolate some kind of off-tempo plucked strings which could easily make you miss a beat or two. It's something Four Tet could have pulled off on his more danceable releases, such as 2013's Pink. Another outstanding track on the EP is 'Infragrant Behavior': a slow-building crescendo which Jamaica chooses to abruptly end after three minutes when a bubbling, almost off-key melody jolts from the song's 4/4 beat - eventually climaxing into a throb that slowly but steadily dies out; a lonely synth fading away, the only remnant of the song's apex.
Weird sonic tweaks such as the above are rooted in Jamaica's varied musical past - interestingly, she's a jazz-trained musician who has played in shoegaze, psych and math rock bands. However, while one might imagine such a musical evolution to take the form of Flying Lotus' trademark jazz-slash-electronica sound or Floating Points' minimal live-band feel, Jamaica has managed to create her own vision of experimental club tracks. Her songs are straightforward, but have a slight glitchy quality to them; her approach is based on repetition and, in turn, feels pleasingly hypnotic - even transcendental, at times.
Dazed and Longevity retain the same qualities, but in smaller quantities. The former is a burbling seven-minute banger whose synths sound like an acid version of the ones Ricardo Villalobos used on the dancier bits of his masterpiece Alcachofa, while the latter is a clear-cut example of Berlin-infused techno. There's nothing wrong with them, but the quirks that make the other two songs on the EP are a little bit muffled here. However, Trusst shows potential, and it'll be interesting to hear what Jamaica comes up in 2016.
04. Infragrant Behavior