I never dreamed I’d associate the words “country music” with Chez Damier, but Balance Recordings’ latest sublabel (presided over by Portuguese protege Jorge Caiado) makes a running gag of the expression for their second release.
I believe the first thing I heard from Ewan Jansen was Blueline Summer, a wildly eccentric album that sometimes fit as well in the “nu jazz” or trip hop bins, released on Mike Grant’s seminal Moods & Grooves out of Detroit. This illustrates my profound ignorance more than Jansen’s alleged obscurity as Ewan was on his second or third career by that point, having been one of the people behind Australia’s Red Ember Records and releasing a stunning collection of records associated with the shop over the years.
He’s traded the aquatic themes of Blueline for the backcountry: “Harvest,” “Sines of Life” and “Square Dance.” The first shows the influence of jazz on dance music in the best possible way: wonderfully musical Deep House that sacrifices nothing in its aspiration for danceability. “Sines of Life” captures Jansen’s moody or introspective side, followed by “Square Dance,” which sounds like an acid jazz orchestra presided over by a slightly addled Marc Kinchen substituting for Pat Metheny.
Published first in 5 Mag Issue #130, featuring Kerri Chandler, Dance Mania, Spiritchaser, Fatback, Edward Fields and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music and save 60%!