- But Jamie, how can we remember the future? The sci-fi narrative that opens Jamie Jones's debut album clues us in: It paints a dystopic scenario where mainstream media has become a kind of evil industrialized nightmare, brainwashing the masses, but against which underground artists disseminate their mysterious messages of independence and ruthless creativity. In this set-up, the future isn't a time that hasn't happened yet, but a place of possibility where new things can take root. Remembering the future then seems like a kind of hippie idealism, in the end, but also a sort of a nostalgic lament for the subversive vitality of a cultural underground.
If you hear the eleven tunes that follow in this context, you might have to conclude that if you want to remember the future you have to invent the past—that is, claim a piece of history for yourself and find a way to reimagine it. In Jones's case, while his album might speak like the '60s, it sings like the '80s, liberally dowsing a contemporary K-friendly tech-house sound with dollops of rowdy Prince-style electro-funk. This is on display in "Mars," which features what in all likelihood is a snippet from the Prince-produced Vanity 6 single "Nasty Girls." A lesser producer would perhaps have beaten the sample to death. But part of what has kept Jones so hotly tipped is his ability to let a sample like this roam free, hide for a while submerged among the bass throb and Bernie Worrell synth blasts, before staging its invigorating return.
The sampled "uh!"here is also an excellent example of the sensuality that oozes on this album. There's a steady stream of similarly wordless coos and sighs—voices exclaiming without anything to say, transmitting nothing other than feelings, pleasure, strength, joy, arousal. Such voices are perhaps the secret genius of the ubiquitous "Summertime." After hearing this avant-pop jewel get rinsed for the past nine months, you can now look beyond the falsetto one-word chorus and appreciate the looped vocals hanging in the background, giving the track its surging hypnotic stasis.
After "Summertime" comes to an end there's a lovely, near-seamless four-track-long mini-set of straight ketamine tech-house, building a terrific whirlwind of sweat and steam to "Sand Dunes." The house party gets interrupted by "Absolute Zero"s old-school electro groove, which undergirds a haunting chord progression that sounds uncannily like the theme from Aphex Twin's icey IDM classic "Icct Hedral." It might come off a bit cluttered after all the skeletal tech-house, but it's also a sign of Jones' willingness to take risks, which one imagines would be a necessary component of the future he's so invested in.
Then Jamie's second single kicks in, "Galactic Space Bar," a collaboration with '80s electro funk legend Egyptian Lover which rewrites "Planet Rock"-style breakin' anthems in the dialect of hopped-up house. It's yet another example of Jones' nimble bilingualism, his ability to speak both to the druggy depths of the club and the shiny surfaces of pop radio. With his debut full-length Jamie delivers good on the promises of his output, but also leaves us with the feeling there's more to come, that he yet may be capable of more iconic moments, like "Summertime" and also "Planet Rock," that fuse anew club grooves to pop universalism.
01. Don't You Remember the Future
03. Summertime feat. Ost & Kjex
04. Deep in the Ghetto
05. Half Human
06. This Is How
07. Sand Dunes
08. Absolute Zero feat. Alison Mars
09. Galactic Space Bar feat. The Egyptian Lover
10. Turning Tables