Like a horror movie score, Jooj's debut self-titled album opens with two ominous notes that steadily crawl at a metronomic pace. What separates that opening number, "Shoulders and Whispers," from your average cheap-fright movies, though, is how Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz challenge you to enter their realm deeply, discomfortingly, ready to approach their work from a dynamic range of angles and perspectives.
Long-time collaborators Lee and Litovitz have created art in a number of mediums, but have returned to music on Jooj, which credits its origins to Lee's 2012 video and photography exhibition in Ottawa called We Are Light Rays. The resulting 10 songs comprise an intriguing experiment in expressionistic minimalism that delivers emotions via a near-blank canvas. In contrast to "Shoulders and Whispers," "Ghost of Love" flutters with the potential of romance soundtracked by a fingerpicked guitar; whirling electronics act as a backdrop to Lee's robust voice, which practically transforms into an instrument as it coalesces with the pulsing beat that follows on "Crystalline."
The intention of each song is precise and affecting, featuring cavernous nooks that implore you to fill the voids with your own interpretations. Approach Jooj with a curious mind and you will easily find space in it amidst the songwriters' vision. (Last Gang)
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