2016 has been full of surprise and innovative releases and Jam City is not one to miss out on this. After achieving critical acclaim for his last release Dream A Garden the opportunity existed for Jam City to milk this cash cow that we call the music industry for all he could squeeze out of its dried out teet. But rather than aiming for personal riches Jam City has made the bold decision to surprise release his new album with no fanfare, no promotion and entirely for free. Some call this doing a Radiohead, I won’t as Radiohead were in a wealthy and comfortable position to give their music away, Jam City’s attempts to do this are much more selfless than that.
First track Send opens Trouble with dark hushed tones and bizarrely sounds like a soundtrack to a 1940s film before the bass and synth kick in and things become more uplifting. The track itself is brief as are many on here but extremely enjoyable.
One thing that is apparent throughout Trouble is that in his use of synth Jam City continues to be hugely influenced by films from the 1980s. Whilst the employment of bass takes things in a different direction from Jam City’s sources of influence some of the sounds feel as if they could have been beamed straight in from the soundtracks to Purple Rain or the Terminator movie, this is particularly the case with track 2 Cowboy and Inha.
In spite of the fierceness of tracks like Cowboy Trouble also contains many meditative moments like Wet GT, where Jam City drops the bass out completely and lets the synth do all the talking. These moments stray from the darkness of Trouble’s productions and end up resembling something closer to uplifting.
Night Slugs have gained a reputation as being the most forward looking grime label in the country and no one on their roster looks more to the future than Jam City. Nothing out there sounds exactly like a Jam City production and Trouble continues along this path untrodden. This is very apparent on tracks like Sky, which whilst retaining a grime influence could also fit well within the realms of progressive and ambient techno or even Trance. This is no surprise given that one of Jam City’s biggest fan is Trance revivalist Evian Christ.
Despite the ambient, synth-y and techno inspired moments fans of Jam City will be delighted to hear that much of what is on offer on Trouble retains the dark bass driven vibe of previous acclaimed efforts.
One point of note is that for fans of past efforts it is worth noting Trouble is an instrumental album gone are the flourishes of vocals that littered some of the tracks of Dream A Garden. There is nothing here like Unhappy, this release firmly positions Jam City’s instrumental productions up front.
Trouble is an enjoyable listen partly because Jam City puts his productions first. It is also an album that firmly cements the producer’s status as being one of the most forward thinking bass-heads on the UK Scene. The fact it’s being given away for free is the icing on the cake.
With music this good we can only hope that Jam City’s selflessness draws in the wider audience he deserves.
free download here: form.jotformeu.com/62573690129360