JASSS - A World Of Service

  • JASSS signs to a prominent techno label and makes a riveting pop album instead.
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  • "We are continually becoming something else, but there are critical points in this process where you can see something fundamental is changing," Silvia Jiménez Alvarez, AKA JASSS, said to Borshch Magazine in 2017 about her debut album Weightless. Although it marked an uncomfortable period for the Spanish artist, it’s doubtless that album was a high point in her career, and also a turning point. Her EP for Whities last year was brazen, unpredictable and infectiously ravey, more akin to her DJ selections and a departure from the experimental soundscapes of Weightless. On her second album, A World Of Service, it feels like Alvarez has reached another watershed, as techno starts to morph into something truly unexpected: pop music. There are arguably two core elements to any modern pop song: killer production and strong, earwormy vocals. JASSS already has the production part on lock, and on A World Of Service her voice becomes the focus. "A World Of Service" and the closer "Wish" are obvious standouts, recalling that early '00s pop that had (some of) us donning thick black eyeliner and checkerboard sweat cuffs. "A World Of Service" sees Alvarez lament about pleasure over humming bass and delicate melodies reminiscent of Dido. "Wish," on the other hand, which features additional production from Ziúr, is loud and punky. It opens with Alvarez coughing, gasping and laughing over a sneering guitar riff. Its hook is a perfect example of maximalist pop, where Alvarez professes lines like "I will totally submit, to your bullshit, forever, endlessly" over racing guitar. Coarse in her tone, there’s an air of sarcasm that reminds me of P!NK's "Don't Let Me Get Me." Throughout the album, Alvarez plays with the tone of her voice. Sometimes it’s raw—gristly, even—but on "Luis," a ballad about a past love, it sounds robotic (think WALL-E) thanks to the extreme processing. This stylistic touch beautifully matches the bubbling arrangement underneath. On "In Your Mouth" the vocals are basically incomprehensible, but her voice feels omnipresent as it floats through the instrumental, the whole track thing sitting in this steamy cloud thanks to some smart reverb on the drums. When you think about contemporary alt-pop albums, you might think of Rina Sawayama’s self-titled LP from last year, or Charli XCX's How I'm Feeling Now. Those records, amazing as they are, were considered innovative for their clashing of leftfield club sounds with nostalgic pop and rock tropes. For years now, JASSS has been in the reverse position, dominating the spaces these pop stars are now borrowing from. Her unbridled DJ and production style has always been complex and clever, and this is only amplified on A World Of Service, where JASSS more than holds her own in new territory.
  • Tracklist
      01. Birds You Can Name 02. Camelo 03. Luis 04. Busto 05. A World Of Service 06. In Your Mouth 07. Vapor Dentro 08. Wish