Album of the week: Jesse – III

Jesse’s III is one of those album that could have easily been lost to obscurity. Originally released in 2012 on the boutique Finnish label Haista, it was either exclusively released in Finland or just never made it beyond its borders until now. That’s at least what we heard via Roland Lifjell at Filter Musikk, who says that DJ Sotofett was responsible for unearthing this heretofore undiscovered gem and bringing it to Oslo. Not a re-issue or a re-press, the plastic that cover these records are a 2012 vintage, which has somehow hermetically sealed its musical contents in a seven year time capsule, incidentally installing it as a timeless record without getting the necessary remoteness from any other record mass-released at that same time.

Jessi was (or is) Stiletti-Ana and Kalifornia-Keke, artists and producers  that have gone on to lauded solo careers since, both moving further away from the fusionist sound they captured on this record. Guitars, drum machines, vocals and synthesisers sit side by side on a record that trips through psychedelia and balearic-beat through some esoteric dance-pop constructions. Measured percussion stakes out a nascent path to the dance floor, while abstract sonic pieces coaxed from guitars and lo-fi synths slither through ethereal progressions. Even in the comparatively banal “Techno Drug Trans” Jesse at least offer something beyond simply “jamming on a groove” as this style of music is want to do.

While instrumental tracks like “Funk 4′ Life” and “Big Funking” are enrapturing it’s however on the two vocal tracks that this record makes the biggest impression. “Karaoke King” and “Amazon Queen” are just catchy enough to get you hooked, while the modulating  phrases and constant development leave just enough mystique and adventure to keep you coming back to them. Jesse are labelled an Electro act on Discogs, and while the DIY sonics certainly occupy that sphere of music, theirs is a far more playful interpretation and if they were inclined to, this could have easily crossed over into the popular indie echelons of the likes of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem of that time.

Even so, it’s probably for the best that it was allowed to simmer and stew through the years, arriving just at the right time in the rest of the world. With time came maturity and a record that would have certainly disappeared into record collections around 2012, now stands out in the contemporary landscape as something unique, even for the likes of what Siletti Ana or Kalifornia-Keke is releasing today.