Hey y’all! =) Brandon here, back with a new edition of my interview column, Hoodie Highlights! In light of our recent collaborative compilation with DESKPOP, I hit up its project manager, Brazos Ebner, to learn more about the netlabel, and, of course, more about the curator himself. Enjoy our conversation below the break!
When George & Jonathan burst onto the scene with their award-winning debut album ‘The Best Music’ in 2010, our collective minds were blown. Their inventive blend of funk, rock and party pop, all written within Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya‘s pxtone Collage software, was an instant hit. While some may have buckled under the pressure to follow up such a watershed release, this dynamic duo from New York has achieved the tall order of shattering expectations with their most recent album, ‘George & Jonathan III’. While it’s a bit early to say this, I feel safe in saying that this is already my summer soundtrack. Moreover, I believe that this album will ultimately be regarded as one of the most outstanding releases of 2014.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I always appreciate when an artist or group puts something extra into their album releases, whether it be an overarching concept, a physical copy, or even the source files themselves. Nothing could have prepared me, however, for THIS. In case you’ve somehow missed the stunning website that accompanies this album, you need to visit georgeandjonathan.com right away. Combining the creative possibilities of chiptune and computer science, it contains a fascinating 3D visualization that is dynamically generated by the data from every note on the album. In addition to being one hell of a first impression, the site also showcases the insane levels of sonic craftsmanship behind every deceptively simple melody. Beneath the surface of each song, one can clearly see the rich undercurrent of samples and tones that build and shape the masterfully produced soundscape.
The blissfully serene album-opener ‘Heaven’ serves as the musical ginger to cleanse the listener’s palate for the diverse and robust flavors to come. ‘Jamn’ gets the party started with an extremely catchy smooth jam and an expressive lead that shifts in tonality. This leads right into ‘Puppy Love’, an adorably twee track that strikes me as the musical fusion of the cuteness of Animal Crossing and the quirkiness of Katamari. Its visualization on the site is not to be missed!
Elsewhere, ‘Everyday Problems’ starts out subdued and then gets progressively funkier, employing slap bass and sinister stabs to great effect. One of my personal favorites ‘Canopy’ then follows, a jaunty little romp that should go straight to the top of your “strut and swagger” playlist. ‘A Brief Moment of Clarity’ is another perfectly titled track which captures the essence of an epiphany, from the euphoric laughter to the sudden rush of its ecstatic wall of sound. ‘Crystal’ ends the album in grand fashion with a main melody that grows from a whisper to a triumphant rooftop refrain, only to leave the listener clamoring for the repeat button. The only negative point I can muster is that while ‘Rock’ is bound to get you fired up in no time, the mix tends to get overcrowded during its manic climax. This particular track may not sustain repeated listens quite as readily as the rest of the album, but that should by no means dissuade you from experiencing ‘George and Jonathan III’.
Overall, ‘George & Jonathan III’ is essential listening; I can’t recommend it highly enough. Speaking beyond the music itself though, it is George & Jonathan’s endearing mix of playfulness and sincerity, coupled with their utmost professionalism, that solidifies them as such a beloved entity within the chipmusic community and beyond. Waggle those fingers people, George & Jonathan are back!