For roughly eight minutes, Jackson and His Computerband‘s sophomore LP, Glow, glides through the beautiful, but over-saturated, post-dubstep canyon. Although hailing from Paris (there is actually no “band” aside from Jackson Fourgeaud and his electronics) adjacent tracks “Seal” and “Dead Living Things” listen like an amalgam of the best in British indie-dance since 2008: blending creeping basslines, distorted vocals, lullaby instrumental samples, and emotive echoes to form lush dreamscapes. However, during the closing moments of the latter, a wandering piano arrangement and an opaque wall of noise coalesce into sheer brilliance, foreshadowing the complimentary textures that line the release.
Compared to Fourgeaud’s 2005 debut, Smash, there’s a new clarity within the arrangements. Clarity that allows the album’s inspirations to excessively bleed through a disorienting IDM facade. “Arp 1” is a flashback to the most gothic of the Depeche Mode catalog while bangers “Pump” and “Blood Bust” point to the type of French House that clubs have become accustomed to hearing from Busy P’s Ed Banger collective. Had “G.I. Jane” been anonymously leaked across the web, it would have been easy to tag the track as a David Bowie lost B-side, or at least a new collaboration.
A small percentage of mimicry would be understandable had Fourgeaud been rushed to complete the album, but after eight years, one would expect Fourgeaud to grow more comfortable in the complexities and off-kilter sound design of his debut. It’s true that his live show has made great strides, but the sonic evolution has been limited to a reserved use of classical instrumentation and organic sound, as found in the sensual ramblings of “Orgysteria” and the drum-line intro of album-closer “Billy”. And it’s “Memory” that leaves the longest-lasting impression, harnessing delicate bird chirps, hushed piano, and a seductive duet to leave listeners grasping for every syllable. The aesthetic is an unnerving shift from the surrounding tracks, but one that deserves to be explored on future Jackson and His Computerband releases.
Essential Tracks: “Memory”, “Billy”