JASSS ~ Weightless

JASSS (Silvia Jiménez Alvarez) is yet another artist pushing music forward with a debut album.  We’re publishing this review a full month early to give our European readers the chance to check her out at the Atonal Festival (Stage Null, 1:00 a.m. Friday) and to disagree with her exclusion from FACT’s Seven acts you won’t want to miss.  FACT, we love you, but we’d put her in the top five.  Still, maybe you haven’t heard this album yet, in which case we forgive you.

Some of us have been waiting a long time for a new infusion of life in the industrial genre (which by any other name would still sound as sweet).  This year, it’s arrived with a vengeance in the form of artists such as Pan Daijing, Pact Infernal and Belief Defect (all playing Atonal!).  Apparently the playbook is gone, and these artists are playing by their own rules.  The ghosts are there: samples, knives, beats ~ but the tone is different.  The first words of Weightless are “I wanted to love someone (*tape rewind*) … I had a child because I wanted to love someone more than I love you.”  Ouch.  And it only gets darker from there.  A series of slowed and looped samples leads to subtle drums, growing harmonics, and finally the hard beats.  Correction, wait a couple minutes ~ these are the hard beats.  The track fills in from the edges like a body sinking in quicksand.  The very title ~ “Every Single Fish In The Pond” ~ implies that love may be a liability, and the presence of any particular lover is superfluous.

Don’t expect mushy sounds from this woman.  Like Pan Daijing, she turns expectations on their head.  Daijing’s cover photo is intentionally deceptive.  Ce n’est pas un album industrial.  Ha!  You men are so easy to fool.  “Oral Couture” comes across like a leaner, meaner version of Intermix.  Yes, you may dance, but only if JASSS says so.  Conversely, if she says so, you’d better dance.  It’s one o’clock in the ****ing morning, why else would you be here?  With two tracks each on four separate sides, the grooves are guaranteed to be deep and wide, and her experience behind the decks decorates the flow.

As the first half of the album fades, one can hear the jazz and polyrhythms that were part of JASSS’ youth.  As the second half launches with a manipulated rock count (1, 2, 3), an avid experimentalism permeates the music.  The title track nods to Nitzer Ebb while remaining its own animal.  (Try yelling over it!)  And while not everything here is club-friendly, the massive bass of  the drum-free closer “To Eat With Dirty Hands” is likely to make sensitive eardrums bleed ~ Berlin, we hope you’re prepared.  (Richard Allen)

Release date:  18 September

Available here soon

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