This took me four or five spins to get it. I’m not sure why. But in the end, I didn’t just figure it out, but came to realize that I like every track on David Marston’s Jamaicalia from Soul Clap’s imprint, Soul Clap Records. Every one.
This isn’t just navel-gazing. You too might find yourself these days listening to something that sounds a little different, a little off, and wave it off just five seconds after the needle drops. I find myself doing that a lot these days – just a cursory listen, a few seconds of this song, or barely more than that, and then it’s on to the next track on an assembly line marked “new releases” that stretches from six inches in front of your nose to the horizon.
Listening to music this way is wrong. It has a demonstrable, deleterious effect in confirmation bias – we (and by “we” I mostly mean “I”) often wind up championing records that sound like other records we already know and like – mostly because it sounds like other records we already know and like.
The best music but especially House Music has always been made by freaks, and the freaks aren’t winning, folks. In fact they’re getting slaughtered. Despite there being less money on the line than ever (at least in terms of record sales), House and Techno are becoming a homogenous mess, a thin gruel which varies a bit in consistency here and there but is largely the same shit everywhere. The freaks are the only people in this business you should give a fuck about, and their decline is a bad sign. And we can possibly attribute it, in part, to the fact that something that used to be done physically, as a deliberate act – listening to new music – can now be done remotely, in your underwear on a couch while doing something else.
Jamaicalia is a freaky record, and despite my wind-up it features several tracks that should easily have widespread appeal. “Gruv” is a slow churn and burn number, leading into “My Love Will Be Crying” which snags a few ’80s sounding overwrought R&B vocals to put together a really nice example of how a track doesn’t have to throw out every factory-issued steam effect to harness energy. “I Don’t Want” is a solid enough track on its own, but the Gemini Love Guitar Mix by Eli Goldstein, Gadi Mizrahi and Nick Monaco stands out.
But all of this is an introduction to the real breakthrough track here, because I’ve been absolutely fixated on “Trust Me”. Vocalist Brigitte Zozula overcomes a kind of existential weariness, an exhaustion that seems to seep down to her marrow, her voice piercing through a dense fog of percussion, guitars and brass. I really have no idea who Zozula is or where this track came from – it bears a few strands of DNA in common with the others but not much. I’m smitten: it’s a marvelous cap on a refreshingly freaky release.