Monday, December 17, 2012

Album Review: Jaytech - Multiverse

Album Rating: B
Upon browsing Jaytech's releases on Beatport, one meets with a slight dilemma: all of his songs are labeled "Progressive House." It's not a gross oversimplification of his style: his "progressive house" songs do indeed have some defining progressive house characteristics. He's fond of melodic piano lines and some light synth chords, plus most of the songs labeled as such do in fact maintain a house beat. The main issue with this kind of labeling, then, is that sticking a single genre's tag on a Jaytech song usually detracts a bit from the subtle genre-bending he tends to do. Sure, there are progressive house elements, but there's also the repetition and lower-range synths favored in deep house, some clickety-clackety drums which could be construed as tech house, and every so often some trance-like vocals. Jaytech has always been slightly more complex than any one electronic genre usually is, so in return for easier categorizing Beatport gives up some of Jaytech's sound, a sound difficult to describe in two words.

As one might expect, then, Multiverse is more of the same, but it's also unsurprisingly a bit more than that. Pianos still abound, most of the songs are indeed house, and Beatport has labeled every single one of the 13 album tracks as progressive house, even the two downtempo pieces at the end. And, again, Multiverse is another case of gently pushing the boundaries of his so-called progressive house slightly further away from where they were originally. It's not really formulaic, at least not nearly as much as most of the drivel you'll find in the prog-house top 10, but at the same time it's not all too innovative either. That's mostly where the album falls short: when all is said and done, everything sounds just a tad too safe. It's not to say that all the songs sound the same, as there are some really incredible pieces on the album. "Labour Of Love" almost sounds like what Pendulum's "The Island" would be if it weren't meant to be a banger: a driving, repetitive, and subdued bassline thumps softly along behind twinkly and almost string-like chords backing up heavily effected yet beautiful vocals. Meanwhile, "Dr. Device" is as close to tech house as Jaytech seems to be willing to go with his shimmering synth leads - it's got the necessary repetition, but it's not quite as machine-like as someone like Umek or Koen Groeneveld. It's a song in a pool of songs that represent a case of falling just beyond easily-definable house.  Unfortunately, after close to an hour of the same thudding kick over and over again the subtle beauty of the individual songs starts to decay as the slightly overlong first 11 tracks start to take a toll on the listener.

Just as fortunately, as one might start to lose hope for the last bit of the album two excellent downtempo songs come in to close off the album. Yet again, they're an example of Jaytech's pieces not quite fitting anywhere - they sound like they could be house, but there's not much room in house for 95 BPM pieces. "Blue Ocean" is probably the one that most deserves a mention, as it's a standout track on the album as a whole. The best descriptor would probably be "groovy" - it conjures images of a chilled out jazz lounge with its piano chords behind an almost-funky bassline and smooth singing. And really, it's the poster child for an album which doesn't quite fit anywhere, at least not easily. Jaytech should be lauded for his attempts to go slightly beyond the norm, but until he goes any farther he'll simply remain an above-average artist. Multiverse is a good album - don't get me wrong - but it feels like it could have been so much more with only a little more forceful of a push.


Track List:

1. Everglade (ft. Serenade)
2. New Vibe
3. Rabbit Raiders
4. Labour of Love (ft. Nathan Grainger)
5. Epilson
6. Innovation (ft. Nathan Grainger)
7. Through the Maze (ft. Serenade)
8. Diode
9. Dr. Device
10. Stranger (ft. Steve Smith)
11. Multiverse
12. Blue Ocean (ft. Melody Gough)
13. Coda

No comments:

Post a Comment