Published May 11, 2016For many, the expressionistic portrait of Mitchel Van Dinther on the cover of Fool, his debut album as Jameszoo, will be their first introduction to the young Dutch producer.
It's an appropriate first impression: the painting's off-kilter swirls of bright colour are representative of Jameszoo's vibrant and twisted sound world. The portrait somewhat resembles those Vincent van Gogh did of himself, and while it might be a stretch to compare Jameszoo to that particular Dutch genius, certainly he possesses the same kind of luminous, original vision.
The foundation of Fool is a set of sessions by the classic jazz and funk musicians that inspire Dinther. Artists like Steve Kuhn, Arthur Verocai and Robert Wyatt lay down tight jams inflected with the idioms of free-jazz and funk. Over the course of the album, the listener is treated to wild saxophone, organ and drum solos, intimate excursions on violin and guitar and very fat synthesizer leads, all courtesy of the myriad guest musicians.
But these recording sessions are just the beginning; Jameszoo has warped them entirely according to his singular aesthetic, filtering them through a hyper-colourful 8-bit vision using sharp, wheezy synth tones and an uncanny ability to bring contrasting elements together into a unified whole. The end product is a suite of songs that feels at once very familiar and totally bizarre, a carnivalesque take on jazz music from another universe.
Fool is a remarkable debut effort. The musicianship of the guest artists is impressive, and Jameszoo's interpretations of their work are startlingly creative. The whole package is likely to be one of the year's best, and certainly one of its most original. (Brainfeeder)