DOORS: 6:00 PM / SHOW: 7:00 PM




Aurora, Nothing But Thieves

In the past few years, Body High founders Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy have made names for themselves worldwide as solo artists. The two have reunited under their production alias DJ Dodger Stadium to release their debut album, Friend Of Mine, on Body High. Friend Of Mine is a techno album that tells the story of a wounded soul’s search for redemption and peace. A soundtrack for the forgotten corners of their city, Friend Of Mine is Body High’s first full-length record. A dance album as heartbreaking as it is triumphant and as lonesome as it is euphoric.

Body High was founded in 2011 to release DJ Dodger Stadium’s Stadium Status EP, which paved the way for a number of innovative artists to release on the tastemaker label, and simultaneously welcomed a new era for dance music in Los Angeles.

Blue Hawaii, Arbutus Records and many of their Montreal counter-parts all began with the same breath in early 2010. To date they’ve released an 8 song EP: in May of that year, Blooming Summer (Arbutus Records 2010) was recorded following the pair’s travels in Central America. It frames a time of warmth and novelty, featuring dense female harmonies, tape saturated synths, guitars and drum machines. Eventually Ra– returned to her role in BRAIDS, touring constantly, while Ag–moved to Europe, treading deeper into dance music, electronics, and production.

The two decided to make Untogether in 2012; they began recording on New Years Day in Vancouver and intermittently worked on the project until summer broke in Montreal. The music followed their winter in Canada, it became colder, more introspective. It again captured a time and place, but instead of a dense saturation of love and excitement, this record reflects the vast world of self-awareness and delicacy. It takes for its subject the question of belonging, despite overwhelming space.

Musically, the production on the album is more spacious and physically it was recorded in separation. Despite this, it belongs together in its final form. It demonstrates successful creative process in a pair who composed apart, and in doing so it is a meditation on communication: how technology and art influence modern human relationships. It contains the vast space of two years passing, including watching their Montreal scene change as some launched into international success and others turned deeper inwards. Here, the album finds the conflict of separation/belonging to one’s self and community.

The duo notice that throughout the changing social and personal landscape which is one’s twenties, these divided notions and people somehow stay together. Even the name Blue Hawaii suggests a kind of melancholic, jaded paradise, but a paradise afterall. It is because – or perhaps in spite of – these disjointed intersections that the record is called Untogether.

A single-note drone fills the air, joined by a lilting, pitch-shifted vocal. The mercurial melody falls between folk, plainsong, pop and jazz, the words trigger equally beguiling images and the voice has an uninhibited, freestyle timbre. There are only periodic splashes of additional mutant colour and it’s not until four full minutes that polyrhythmic drums kick in to propel a uncanny, kinetic arrangement that constantly ebbs and flows.

At seven minutes and twenty nine seconds, ‘Hum’ is as audacious as it is a brilliant introduction to a record. But then Adult Jazz are an audacious proposition. Through nine tracks and 51 minutes, their debut album Gist Is, released on the band’s own label Spare Thought, is a voyage that’s startling, mesmerising and magical from start to finish, taking a labyrinthian, fragmented pop-not-pop path, through breathtaking detours, incorporating songs within songs, but very light on its feet and as playful as it is cerebral.

“Slippery and minimal,” was The Fly’s verdict in its top five ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2014. Reviewing ‘Springful/‘Am Gone’, the band’s AA-sided debut single released in January 2014, Stereogum described it as, “quirky and disjointed, yet somehow gliding gracefully through the air.” DIY magazine said, “a mind-bending strain of art-pop that promises to slot them somewhere alongside Wild Beasts and These New Puritans in terms of fantastically British seriousness.”

Whichever adjectives – and there will be many – are used to label Adult Jazz, only one thing is for certain: this music only obeys its own internal logic.

“We don’t see ourselves as having a sound, it’s more aspects that we agree are within the scope of what we do,” ventures singer and spokesperson Harry Burgess on behalf of bandmates Tom Howe, Tim Slater and Steven Wells. “Something melodic and friendly, but with an uncommon character. We like that juxtaposition between, say, something my mother would like, and something she would find difficult! We also don’t feel it’s necessary to tap an idea if we’ve done it once. It means the voices and words are free to be explored and dance around.”

That sense of exploration and freedom defines the sound and vision of Gist Is, from the upbeat, off-the-beat orbit of ‘Am Gone’ to the uncanny, skittering lullaby ‘Pigeon Skulls’, from the surging dig-rhythms of ‘Idiot Mantra’ to the shifting sections over ten entrancing minutes that is ‘Spook’, from “big, slow build to big joyful explosion to a reflective middle, then a massive long grandiose build to an end,” says Harry. On its own, ‘Springful’, appears to transform from blues spiritual to folk-pop to an Afro-tinged passage, which seems to keep the band off-guard as much as the listener. There are myriad samples, sonics that don’t readily admit which instrument made them on, and Harry’s vocal dexterity, judiciously employing falsetto rather than using it as an over-egged default mechanism.

Gist Is also evolved intuitively, taking four years to finish. Studies (and more recently, day jobs) had to be factored in, but the dominant factor was having the freedom, “to write and to realise a direction as we went along. There was no prescribed path for the album, so we could take an internalised approach.”

Enigmatic, non-linear, challenging, fascinating, complex it wouldn’t be ‘Adult Jazz’ if everything was spelt out and instantly understood. The gist is, Gist Is invites the listener to take time to discover its multiple folds, corners and tangents: but what is absolutely certain is a unique proposition, the combination of four audacious and brilliant musical minds.