Albums / EPs, Reviews

Album Review: Jumping Back Slash – JBS005

The past always has a way of glimmering through rose-tinted glasses. Scientists believe that it is…

The past always has a way of glimmering through rose-tinted glasses. Scientists believe that it is a natural evolutionary tool that is designed to keep us sane and consequently, makes us nostalgic. JBS005 represents the final piece of the Jumping Black Slash puzzle and is his last statement before leaving South Africa, which he has called home for the last seven years. The EP may be a collection that encapsulates the sum of his growth as a producer since he came to this country and was influenced by local and unique music scenes but it is not retrogressive or preoccupied with nostalgic notions of a time well spent; it rather represents a forward-looking album that shows his expansive musical scope. 

JBS005 opens up with ‘Hit the Gold’ that rumbles along with a bumping two-step drumbeat that would be eaten up as fodder on the dance floor. As can be seen from his earlier work, Jumping Black Slash has always had a preoccupation with rhythm. It’s not as if that is noteworthy for a producer of danceable electronic music but, in his case, the infusion of big kick drums, conga beats and other unusual percussion elements allows his songs to seem alternatively like house, garage or new rave – but more likely entirely of his own genre. The rhythms are also perhaps where the fruits of his musical labour in this country are most evident – considering the similarities between his rhythmic patterns and those of the local house scene. But that’s not all. The melody of his second song, ‘Mountains of Fire’ has that old school kwaito radio hit feel to it or just as easily could be on a house banger in the vein of a Big Nuz or Professor. 

Jumping Black Slash’s trick has been that he always makes those disparate voices and styles seem cohesive; never losing control of what he has got his hand on. Keeping with that theme, the album moves on to the garage-tinged ‘Like We Do’ that features the customary garage pitch-shifted R&B female vocal sample. It bubbles a little under the surface and ends without much regret. The tone of this EP seems comparatively lighter and brighter than previous Jumping Black Slash releases and that is evident on ‘Misty in Summer’ where, as the title suggests, wobbling synth clouds move over a pulsing drumbeat. This presents a neon-glowing side to JBS that is one of the standouts of the EP in its lush ebbs and flows. 

The EP closes with the sumptuous and soulful, ‘All The Blue Skies’ a closer that ends the EP like a coming age of movie: with the lead now more content, more knowledgeable and deeply wiser. It is cathartic and a fitting end to another rewarding offering from an original producer. His relocation is a loss to the local scene but his still fresh heap of five eclectic and expressive EPs is a constant reward and in that respect, I guess we are still winning. 

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