j(ay).A.d - Asema (SMBL041)

Release Date: December 04, 2015

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01. Thinking About You
02. Nostalgia
03. Obeah
04. Spend The Night
05. Mind Sex

Over the past several years, J(ay).A.D has released several EPs touching on footwork, dubstep, grime and hip hop, approaching dance music with a wide open lens that tends to blur accepted genre lines. A Björk co-sign earlier this year jettisoned the Amsterdam-based artist into the popular consciousness and on December 4, he’ll release his most complete, idiosyncratic work to date; the Asema EP on Symbols. Raised in Suriname, J(ay).A.D is the consummate dance music outsider and despite living in Amsterdam, his music hardly ever fits in with the city’s house and techno hegemony. Asema sits almost entirely at club friendly tempos and despite hitting peak levels on tracks like “Spend The Night” and “Mind Sex”, is more comfortable hitting emotional highs and lows. 

With the rapid industrialization and subsequent cultural divide of his native Suriname in mind, the EP is very much a record of the present moment, simultaneously paranoid and hopeful, seeped in industrial dread and natural beauty. Elastic square-wave synths, bruising sub bass and meticulous percussion arrangements make up the majority of Asema, from near-weightless opener “Thinking About You” to punchy, in-your-face closer “Mind Sex”. And while many of J(ay).A.D’s contemporaries attempt to create more alien sounding music at the expense of a human element, Asema has a distinctly tactile feel to it, from the echoing, almost live-sounding percussion on “Spend The Night” to the lush synth work on “Nostalgia”. Despite J(ay).A.D coming from an outsider position, Asema is a record with the power to touch and evoke memories from any and all listeners, its essential themes transmissible to virtually any individual or culture