New Release: Max Ox – Things We Used To Know
Remind yourself how long your attention span is, or how long it can be potentially. A common millennial problem is that it is notably low, competing fairly with that of a goldfish. Now think about it while listening to jazz. Does it matter? Most compositions are structured in an unstructured kind of way and musical ideas flow and progress freely. Often by the end the listener is spat out just as disoriented as they came in, if not more so, but there’s still an idea of what the composition is feeling. The attention span needed for jazz is minimal, and yet it can grab your attention for the extent of a lengthy performance, or possibly an album, seamlessly. Max Ox’s record Things We Used To Know is no exception, and will explore the idea of attention spans in all its jazz-funk glory, even if that wasn’t its intent.
The execution of such music has not been exploited too much in recent years – possibly due to that attention span thing previously mentioned, but perhaps due to the low publicity that jazz gets altogether. Contemporary efforts have experimented in many formats to create small and big waves within jazz, but the latest fusion of electronic production with jazz-trained musicians pursues something special. Max Ox’s trio of Corbin Jones (Bass), Jacob Mann (Synth), and Ryan McDiarmid (Drums), dives amongst the league of internet music heroes such as Lindsay Lowend, Anamanaguchi and more, but abandoning the very thought of a hit single. This is jazz progression at its core, and fun on the surface. Tracks like “Elbow Feet” express this where an idea is hit on, extrapolated, developed with surrounding instruments and then finessed to the next idea; rinse and repeat. By the time the track ends, 3 melodies have been introduced, of course all in continuity, and the listener is now tested if she/he are as involved in the music as when they started. This shift of ideas isn’t a challenge but a trend, and something one can try to recall as they listen to the rest of the album.
Conceivably more important to note is the release is stylistically sound, and musically exercised. From the beginning of the album with tracks like “Pizza Party” to the end with “Mousecop” a concerted effort was placed on a fast-medium pace to fit a complacent atmosphere that isn’t too chaotic, although at times it calls for some improvisation of such. The more hectic moments are well done, though, and in line with anticipation that is expected from the listener. Overall, a patient attitude is warranted for this type of thing, but it depends on what sort of perception is present going in (hopefully you’re aware what kind you have before listening).
Max Ox’s members are no doubt skilled in their respective instruments. Any overarching driving force to the band’s creative process is evolved and adapted well into the music, seamlessly so that it is hardly noticeable. Where the album falls short is on the lack of variation, even with the shift of melodies as previously mentioned. But that isn’t always the idea of jazz; fluidity and ad lib creation might have been the essence of Things We Used to Know. If that be the case then I deem the album a success and forward moving for the group. In the coming days of future releases, maybe Max Ox will attempt a cohesively designed album astray from jazz orientation that carries the attitude of jazz, which also continues to grab, shake and break the attention span. In the meantime this will definitely do.
Recommended Tracks: 2, 5, 6
- In the coming months of AlunaGeorge’s sophomore album, the dial is cranked a little higher with another single, a collaboration between Aluna Francis and Flume with a track titled “I Remember”. Aluna was interviewed on 4/13 by Annie Mac on her BBC show where details on the album were shared.
- Mixmag reports Justice has a third album in the works, if not close to completion.
- Tom Misch reveals a shot in the studio captioning “Final touches on this EP. Coming out in May.”
- Les Loups tease their debut EP with a picturesque, surreal artwork, as well as a screen shot of the .zip file consisting of the mastered tracks.
- The Avalanches elusively hint at their first new original work since the early 2000s, circa the time of their debut and critically acclaimed album Since I Left You (2000). The group have confirmed several tour dates within the festival circuit this year, but most notably the band have updated their official website, as well on social media accounts, with imagery of an embroidered golden butterfly on black cloth, possibly indicated a new album altogether. ♥
- Leon Vynehall’s album Rojus released last month.
- It has been mentioned by multiple publishers that Oneohtrix Point Never and FKA Twigs are collaborating for some sort of release in the future.
- Mount Kimbie are back since their 2013 album with a new track titled “Jupiter”.
- Flying Lotus has scored Shia Labouf’s latest movie production titled “LoveTrue”, which will be debuted at this year’s Tribeca film festival. The trailer for the film is embedded below:
- The Gorillaz tease their 5th studio album with video clips and additional, stylized cartoon mascots on brand for the band.
- Shura releases another artistic effort in the midst of her debut album, a 9 1/2 minute mixtape titled “Space Tapes”. The album Nothing’s Real releases July 8, 2016.
- FACT Mag wrote an interesting piece on the monetary successes of the artist-curated, stream/store service Bandcamp. The article can be read here.
Artist Feature: Air Max 97′
“Intoxication, sway, wetness, vividness, dislocation…” These are some words which Oliver van der Lugt used to describe when he thought of evocation of feeling. This is done throuhgh his music, a new-age take on club music, fully diverged from the 4×4 rhythm we’re so accustomed too, but rightfully placed among producers and DJs of the night life and beyond. Through his artistic alias named Air Max 97′, he has conjured an atmosphere thick and hazy but cohesive in waves of releases which bring continuity and progress to a drying lake bed of the electronic dancing scene.
Growing up in New Zealand and finding footing on the main continent, Oliver originally dabbled in music of the noisier variety; often calling his projects and interests of the “experimental” scene where bands and disorder reigned. At some point in the recent past, within 5 years time, he reestablished his musical absorption and attention to hip-hop and R&B, recognizing the discernible tightness to the tunes which juxtaposed the walls of noise and sound, refreshing his palette but carrying his experience forward. His other interest and production of field recordings intertwined with the new-found taste of the 2010s production scene, bringing us close to the current status of what is now Air Max 97′. One fateful DJ gig for a friend in 2013 sparked his interest in the dance music and the culmination of all elements prompted a creative drive to produce music a little differently.
Listening to work by Air Max 97′ continues to evoke the same feelings as first described. Asymmetric rhythms, which are still indeed in pattern, carry listeners from one melody to the next. What is nice is the discrepancy between his first EP and the second; a shift in a more refined sense of self (within the music) paralleled as dipping a toe into the water versus diving head first. The PC trend of glittery sounds managed and finessed are masterfully arranged, taking you from the air to space, and yet still on the dance floor. The variety this man pulls off is invigorating to say the least.