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Brant Bjork - Jacoozzi Award winner

Brant Bjork
Jacoozzi
by Dave Nowels at 30 April 2019, 9:38 PM

Brant Bjork is about as prolific as any artist you’ll find in heavy music. From co-founding KYUSS back in the late 80’s, to his time served with FU MANCHU and FATSO JETSON to his solo career that began with 1999’s “Jalamanta”. With “Jacoozzi”, Bjork has dropped his eleventh solo release and one actually recorded back in 2010. Bjork describes the release: “Back in December of 2010, I went into a house in Joshua Tree California to record another solo record. About 4 days into the sessions, I decided to abandon the 8 songs I was working on, told my long time friend and engineer, Tony Mason, to start rolling tape and I proceeded to play drums in my natural improv style. After multiple drum track performances were captured, I then started layering guitars, bass and percussion in the same improvisational spirit. I essentially decided to "jam" by myself for the rest of my scheduled sessions. When the recording session had finally come to an end, I put the 8 unfinished tracks on the "shelf" as well as my "solo jam session" tracks. I was much more content with the "jam" tracks as it was a creative release that was needed at that time. I decided to call the collective tracks, “Jacoozzi”. At the time, it reminded me of the feeling of my first solo recording sessions for my first solo release, “Jalamanta”… only more "free."

If ever an album manages to capture the “freeness” that the mere mention of Joshua Tree invokes, its “Jacoozi”. Opening with those mentioned improv drum tracks, “Can’t Out Run the Sun” manages to grow and evolve over the course of its seven and a half minutes. Guitar added here, bass there, layer after sonic layer, piece by masterful peace. This process becomes the main theme of the album essentially, with smaller “sub themes” adding strategic character, and distinguishing each track. “Guerilla Funk” is just that; an improve drum beat groove that never capitulates and feeds off the funky bass track, growing in audaciousness throughout its length. “Mexico City Blues” follows a similar formula, while relying on a distorted guitar riff to accentuate the implied Latin flavor.

Five Hundred Thousand Dollars”, serves only as a bit of a solo drum intro for “Black & White Wonderland” which sees things escalate a bit more with some well executed exploratory meandering. Of note, the substance of this track seems a tad darker and reflective than the previous tracks, but never falls too deeply into the abyss. Rather it seems more of a cautionary revelation than full fledged immersion. “Oui” and “Mixed Nuts” both rely upon a traditional jazz base while retaining the expansive Desert Rock feel. It makes for a nice blend of styles that’s surprising and fresh. “Lost In Race” centers around a bass heavy riff that fights through some of the heaviest percussion on the album. “Polarized” seem just that, heavy fuzz distorted guitar reinforces the Stoner feel, with a keen usage of piano opposing the brashness of the guitar. Bjork wraps things up with a question, “Do You Love Your World”, with the albums most important voice prominent, Bjork’s voice the instrument of focus repeating the contemplative question.

“Jacoozzi” is a fascinating collection of tunes that seemingly came about in the most intriguing of methods. I love the story behind its creation, and more importantly, its organic quality really connected and resonated with me. The fact that Bjork sat on this material for the past nine years both frustrates me and earns my respect. The fact remains, these nine year old songs sound as fresh and appealing as anything composed by anyone else over the past two years. That’s mind-numbingly cool.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Can’t Out Run the Sun
2. Guerilla Funk
3. Mexico City Blues
4. Five Hundred Thousand Dollars
5. Black & White Wonderland
6. Oui
7. Mixed Nuts
8. Lost in Race
9. Polarized
10. Do You Love Your World?
Lineup:
Brant Bjork - All Instruments
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
     


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Edited 13 July 2020
 

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