Djinn is the name of spirit creatures whose origin can be put back in the early Islamic mythology and has been anglicized in genies. They could be considered good, neutral or bad, and it’s said that God created them out of a mixture of fire. Djinn is also the name chosen for an alternative project born from the mind of members of Swedish bands Goat and Hills. We’re going to dig into their first and homonymous full-length.
It’s a step forward for the label Rocket Recordings into a “jazzier” soundscape, where folk elements blend with free form solos to form a mysterious soundscape salted by a touch of irony and fun. The cover shows black and white characters whose traits are distorted and bent, their textures slightly show a fine symbolism regarding eyes shedding tears. We can group the figures this way: two single characters, each by its own, and all the others forming a masked unit, their mouth a painful grimace. Then there’s the single man on the left, the only one that wears a hat, a sort of crown, and the only one laughing at the scene. The main one is at the center of the mess: its skin is pure black, his limbs unnaturally stretched trying to grab something covered. This better reflects the image of the djinn, the mythologic creature.
The cover clarifies the sonic content: a distorted beast with bad intentions aiming to twist your mind with sounds beyond the earth, and the laughing man maybe is the conscious listener, the one who doesn’t fear the new and the mysterious. Together with him, let’s dive in.
01 – Jazz Financed
02 – Le Jardin de la Morte
03 – Algäbbanem
04 – Ghostdance
05 – Fiskehamn Blues
06 – My Bankaccount
07- Rertland Bussels
08- Djinn & Djuice
The album opens with Jazz Financed, an ironic piece that takes the main theme of a trumpet march and makes it the foundation for drums and free sax and string instrument to jam on. Useless to say that the thing soon evolves in a mess culminating again in the initial march, slowed down before passing on to the next piece, Le Jardin de la Morte.
It’s the first single from the record and the most tranquil track in it. A singular choice for a single, isn’t it? Basically, it’s an ambient piece with a string-like background similar to a mellotron, flutes, tribal percussions and harps, but above what catches the ear is the bass, used in combination to a wah pedal to create funny sketches of color based on pentatonics. The imagery of the official video has two main elements: the sunset of the sun and the blossom of flowers. The black and white mood and the slow-motion combined with the music gives surreal sensations of life and death, with an approach both poetic and documentarist.
Algäbbanem is a mess since the beginning: free form drumming, mysterious low notes and a desperate sax melody flying over the mind. Suddenly the bass and piano together start an oriental flavor ostinato riff and the sax goes crazy and free form like the drums, culminating in a very sad ending melody, the plates give the last breath before finishing the piece with a loud gong.
Ghostdance also begins with sick drums. After the intro, the rhythm goes swinging while the piano, the horns, and the flute play a happy but melancholic melody at the same time until the end, just like tributing a happy prosecution to bad things, like remembering the ghosts of the past in an oddly happy way.
Fiskehamn Blues is a lullaby for mature people who want to come back to childhood. A carillon-like melody is accompanied by soft bells and a native Indian-ish wind instrument, not a proper flute.
With My Bankaccount the reality of being adults strikes back. It’s time for responsibilities! The sax warns you that there’s a bank account to manage and to be filled. When horns and drums enter there’s no more mercy: you must absolve your duties, and if you can’t pay your bills you’ll go crazy like every instrument at half of the song.
Rertland Bussels is a joke about the 20th-century writer’s name Bertland Russels, philosopher, essayist and social critic. It’s not clear if the song is a tribute or a critique against the good Bertland; what we know is that the piece is the most free-form thing in the album so it’s pretty difficult defining what is going on here. All the instruments go for their own ways and there are some samples about speeches and choirs and everything is surrounded by a dark, anxious aura.
One can say the same thing about the beginning of the last track, Djinn & Djiuce. An anxiogenic piano leads the listener to the real funk of the blues. Suddenly the piece becomes happy nut with a touch of chaos given by sax and electronic effects, a frenzy soundscape that makes you move and gets you free by the chain of rationality. The ending is abruptly given by slowing down the entire thing until the silence fills in. Did you expect a happy ending with some release feelings? This is what you get.
Written for you by Music Pills
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