Since the dawn of electronics, they have always been met with resistance and criticism in the form of simply not being as good as their organic counterparts. The electric light bulb was said by some to not cast the same glow as a gas light. The sewing machine was said to take something away from the joy of the clothes making process. And since the first synthesizer left the assembly line, people have raised their hands and voices to protest the musical validity of the instrument. However, unlike light bulbs and sewing machines which have grown to be universally accepted over time as superior to that which they replaced, electronic music has continued to be largely considered as second rate. As a result, all serious musicians that practice electronic music do so with a serious chip on their shoulder in the pursuit to prove themselves as legitimate musicians in what is considered to be a non-legitimate genre.
JacDaw, hailing from the UK, have such a chip on their shoulder and wish to prove that just because they use electronics as their instruments, it does not mean that they are not serious artists. On the ten tracks that they provide for a listen on their MySpace page (myspace.com/jacdawofficial), they are largely successful in convincing the listener that they are the real deal, musically.
The high point of the collection is “September Song”, which provides a perfect mix of beats, ambiance, lyrics, haunting vocals, and a perfectly used sitar. With lyrics such as the repeated “Save me from me / My only enemy”, and a solid beat, one can sulk to this song or dance to it, depending on ones mood at the time. A close second is the broody and hard driving “Judgment”. Its heavily modified and eerily beautiful vocals flow over a steady freight train of a bass track as the female vocalists provides such gems as “I can hear voices/ I can hear sounds”. What makes that line a gem is the artists’ ability to deliver such a line so convincingly and stirringly.
Also worth a listen are “Hidden”, both versions of “No Sound”, “Bury The Key”, and “The Urge”. “Hidden”, for its sing-songy delivery. “No sound -(re-mastered)”, for its ability to make you want to drive really fast to lyrics like: “There will be no sound / When you hit the ground”. “No Sound – (Lair Remix)”, for providing the listener with an example of what it would sound like if The Chemical Brothers remixed a song by Aphex Twin. “Bury The Key”, for making madness danceable and lastly, “The Urge”, for being a meat and potatoes club track that is sure to please Electronica fans everywhere. However, the collection is not without its low points. “You Take The Best” and “Never Let You Go” are both banal minor key fair that provide the disappointing mix of being neither danceable nor musically relevant. But, making electronic music enjoyable for both the layman and the diehard fan while maintaining artistic integrity is a difficult job, so one can forgive a couple misses.
All in all, JacDaw provides a solid collection. Not only should Trip-Hop and Electronica fans check this out right now, but also people that don’t usually listen to music of this nature should give this collection a shot.