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JUSTIN TIBBS - JT’s Electrik Blackout’s - ALBUM REVIEW


JT’s Electrik Blackout’s

Akron, United States

Credit - Ben Payne

Jazz of the highest order. New age, funky, and full of surprises, JT’s Electrik Blackout is a hoot from start to finish. The album is filled with immersive melodies, harmonies and percussive shifts that bring you into the heart of the song. When the melody is not so kind, it is discordant, brash and intense - JT’s Electrik Blackout show both sides of their jazz passions, light and dark alike. I would say sit down, get comfy, this album’s going to soothe you to dreamland. But I won’t, what I will say is get up, walk, dance, and drive. ‘JT’s Electrik Blackout’ is a monumental whirlwind of stop-starting sounds and you’ll want to be moving along with it.

The opening for the album is fast, uptempo and full of bright and rolling melodies. ‘Caffeine Rage’ is exactly what it sounds like. Fuelled by sheer liquid funk the song sounds its brass and gets rolling. It toils at the melody, forcing its multi-part wonderment out of the air and into our ears. It's fast, engaging and full of life, it foreshadows what’s to come perfectly, and the jazzy keys in the climb are tense, off, and wired. When the sax comes back with that uptime funky number we’re brought right back to the present. What an open, a strong song that says, look out, it's time for a Blackout.

After that brief introduction, the meat of the sound kicks in. ‘A Funky Nightmare’, its smooth scaling bass and clipping percussion are warmed by glass-oil keys. The brass comes in to walk us down the path to the deeper melody. It's full of funky fills and time stops and starts, the backing is so well blended it's mesmerising. The fog that emanates from the keys and the bass is cut apart only by the snap of the snare and the blaring of the trumpet or sax. Each instrument takes the lead for a time and keeps the song moving into new cafes, new dark alleys and across new faces. The sound breathes and flows, it waits for none, it moves by itself and we are lucky enough to see that happen. This vibe carries on into ‘Espada (Dance of the)’. A lower, darker vibe. The song is up, held aloft by bright shimmers of keys and horns that wile and yawn in the dark. The hook is bright, catchy and drags you from section to section with rapid ingenuity.

Not only are the songs on ‘JT’s Electrik Blackout’ catchy and rhythmic, but they are also fascinating. How they move how they slide from one section to another. 10-minute songs feel like they fly by in seconds, the simple flutter of an eye, the click of a lighter, the rush of the wind. The sound comes and goes as naturally as time, but it leaves you with a little something once it's gone, an idea, a vibe, an emotion, a story.

I could go on for hours about each song and its individual splendours and complexities; the sharp-low, bass in ‘3 A.M. Text’ and its delicious melody; the downright insanity that lives within ‘Watch for the Hook’ the speed of the drums and the precision of the harmonies. There is a song for everyone on this album, for me, each song was my song. They all spoke to a different part of me, all put me in my place or showed me a new one. Jazz has a profound effect on the mind, it can stimulate in just the same ways classical music can, more people should open their hearts and eyes and ears to jazz. If you want a place to start, I can highly recommend ‘JT’s Electrik Blackout’. Its sonic wonders simply must be shared with your psyche.


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