Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-10-12
Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters
Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters

If you had any doubts what it would sound like to have your music off center (left or right, doesn’t matter) and still sound very accessible, then you should certainly take a listen to Jassbusters, the new (third) album by New Zealander Connan Mockasin. It is a very off-center and and listenable album!

Connan hasn’t made a solo album in five years, but has been around collaborating with the likes of John Cale, Neil & Liam Finn, MGMT, Charlotte Gainsbourg (the opener here is titled “Charlotte’s Thong”) and James Blake. With names like these, there’s always a question lingering who picked up what from whom? Actually, judging by the recent output by all of the above mentioned and Connan’s new album itself, you can easily say the idea-sharing went both ways. Off-center ways, I mean, this one even has a parental advisory sticker on it.

The almost mellow atmosphere, relatively sparse instrumentation with the bass sound dominating some tracks place the music on Jassbusters somewhere between Joni Mitchell’s Hejira period and Lewis' L'Amour album from the 80s. All melodic brilliantly played and sung with a somewhat word lyrical concept which for some reason got that parental advisory label.

Recapping the storyline is a treat in itself - it follows the narrative of Bostyn ’n' Dobsyn, a five-part melodrama film about a music teacher and his student, created by Mockasin, which it is said took him 20 years to develop and 10 days to film. After making the film, Mockasin recorded the album, then re-recorded live so that parts could be used in the film.

Supposedly, you are to listen to the album after watching the film. I don’t know about that, and frankly, it makes no difference. I certainly enjoyed the album without sticking to the author’s advice to watch the film first. And it makes no difference how long it took to record the album since it sounds like it might itself be 20 years in the making. That offbeat. That good.

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