Artist: Jean Nine
Title: Whispers And The Storm
Label: Kyoto Republic
Keywords: Electronic, Broken Beat, Dubstep, IDM, Trip Hop
Reviewer: Alex Spalding & his magical ear worm
Earlier today my right ear began bugging out… it felt as if there were something behind my ear drum, throbbing. Not painful, so much as irritating and random. Maybe some strange parasite that was about to explode out of my head? It was probably something to do with the changes in atmospheric pressure… but I then started to entertain the notion that it actually was a parasitic creature. No idea how it might have gotten in there… perhaps I ate a badly prepared piece of sushi years ago? Maybe the creature is angry with me, and hadn’t made it’s presence known until recently because it had been living off of the beautiful music I’d been reviewing. Now it’s hungry for more and I must choose something lovely to listen to and write about, something that will pleasure my little ear worm so that it will not wish anymore to gruesomely flee. But, what to put on?..
… ah, Jean Nine’s album Whispers And The Storm may work quite well. I shall whisper to the worm, pacify it with sweet little nothings!
“Yeah, good luck with that, buddy, heh heh heh!”
… huh!? Who’s there?
“It’s me, pal… your ear worm!”
Oh… ok… that’s fucking scary!
“Yeah, tell me about it! Look, I’ve been starvin’ up here. You’d better be sure this is some delicious music I’m about to hear, otherwise I’m packin’ my bags and blowin’ this joint!”
I’ll, uh, try to do that then. Any chance of you keeping things nice and clean if you do end up leaving?
“Hahaha… nope! It’s gonna be a mess, guy.”
“Yep. But, I’ll tell ya what. I’ll make a deal with ya. If this music’s good enough, I’ll flush myself quietly out your pipes so you won’t have to deal with me anymore.”
Oh… hey, that’s really nice of you!
“I’ve got big dreams, ya see… ever since I was a little larva I’ve wanted to grow up to be a big Hollywood actress. I feel like now I’m older, I’ve finally got my chance to make it.”
… oh, yeah, well it’s always great to follow your dreams… I guess I’d better start the music then! >_>
The first track on this album is called ‘Cold Is The Wind But Colder Are Arms Of The Night’, and —
“Hey, this is real nice!”
— um, yeah, I thought so too! There are these guitars, it’s kind of a sweet sort of downer soundtrack style feel. Then, a splash, and some additional guitar harmonics are added, then a low tempo rhythm. It’s one of those songs that make you feel like you’re walking, head down, in the rain. Shuffling your feet on the cobblestone streets of your hometown, playing back memories of a love long ago. It’s probably 2:00 AM, overcast, a bit chilly, slight fog or mistiness to the air. The electric piano is nice.
“It makes me think of wiggling around in the damp, smelly dirt late at night, wonderin’ if you’re gonna find some poor sucker’s head to crawl into.”
… oh, yes, that too is very relatable and nostalgic.
‘Breaking The Sine Waves’ is the next track, starting us off with some soft, melancholy electric piano. A lowdown, shuffling groove, some very desperate strings, I love love love the spacy theremin-esque lead sound! This is great music, with a wonderfully morose quality, as if we’re completely lost in thought. There’s something to it that makes me think of someone dreaming of retribution, or getting something back that was taken. It’s kind of a peculiar emotional evocation.
“Yeah! And I’m thinkin’ of how I’m gonna put together the headshots for my agents in showbiz. Mind if I use your head? Maybe, I dunno, a shot of me flyin’ out of it?”
No, no… I don’t like that idea at all, I really think you could do better. Maybe just try to go for something classy…
… anyway, the next track is titled ‘Slower Traffic Keep Right’, which keeps on with the feel of being out in the streets. There’s a little bit of crackling static, some piano, a really nice 808-groove, truly gorgeous vocals that flow seamlessly in the mix. Reverb-intensive trip hop soundscape of imaginal, dreamy late-night neon worlds. It’s very spare with it’s use of sound, including vocal sound, everything being infused into the mix in a minimalistic way to become cogs in the broader movement of the piece.
“Hey, I really like this!”
Great! I’m so very glad to hear that! The next one is ‘Interstellar Conventions’, with space-like synthetic pads circling above like a trinity of spaceships piloted by aliens. Then a breakbeat comes on, very slick, shuffling groove with bass tones and electric piano harmonies.
“I’m just an ear wo-orm, nobody lo-oves meee!”
Ew, stop your crooning! You’re ruining the vibe!
“Sorry. I was just really feelin’ this.”
It’s ok, I am too. There’s a lot of electric piano all over this album, some organ on this track too. Later on we get some guitar feedback!
Then, the last piece of music, ‘Vanishing World’… it’s the longest title on this album. It begins with some electric piano, adding strings that are like the embrace of sorrow. I feel like I’ve just been kissed by an aging vampire and am now writhing in succulent pain as I become a creature of the night, or something along those lines. After awhile there’s a progressive rhythm that comes in, a touch of distorted guitar fuzz, making it feel like the track is about to go epic. Now I’m watching from the belfry of a dark tower as riders on white horses carrying torches and crucifixes approach the vampiric keep, no doubt in order to bring an end to my evil reign or something thematically similar. The music crescendos, decrescendos, all over the place… some nice choirs are added, too…
“Goodbye, cruel world!”
Hey, where are you going!? You’d better not be exploding out of my ear!!!
“Nope, just flushing my way out of your head… it’s too weird in here right now. Did enjoy the tunes, though, thanks!”
Ok, great! It was no problem! *grrrgle* Ooh, my stomach doesn’t feel right… I’d better hit the toilet!
… Ah, much better!
Oh, wow, it’s you!
“Mind giving me a flush? I’m off to Hollywood to pursue my fame and fortune!”
Sure thing! Here you go… *flussshhhh*
“See ya! And thanks for all the muuuussiiiiiic!”
Yeah, of course! Bye!
Maybe things will go back to normal now around here. It even sounds like that storm outside that I never mentioned is clearing up.
Man… not gonna miss that worm much, though I still really hate goodbyes. But, on the bright side, I do love links, especially to cool music. Maybe I’ll just leave one of those on the floor down here for future ear worms: