Don’t you hate it when people who aren’t DC guys at all and have never read a Superman comic in their life talk about cryptonite and can’t even spell the word right?
Well, there’s noone else to blame, I brought this onto me all by myself: Who wants to review Jegong? - Me! Me! Me! And why not me? I had already heard this album a while ago at that point and knew that it was more than worthy of my time. I just didn’t think twice about the fact that there are certain genres which when done in a way I unconditionally love, I’m just having a hard time addressing professionally without resorting to cheap detours that don’t have much to do with the music itself at all. I just like it. Happy emoji, thumbs up, that’s it. Among those genres are for example Post Rock and Psychedelic Rock. Oh, right, what has the duo of Sum Of R mastermind Reto Mäder and Mono drummer Dahm Majuri Cipolla decided to combine? Great. So now I’m sitting here with a self-inflicted deadline and review angle ideas for a dozen recent releases in my head, but an embarrassingly blank page when it comes to the task at hand, The Complex Inbetween.
So what would Clark Kent do if he had writer’s block? Not having watched any Superman movies, I naturally have no idea. He probably could go outside, put his suite on and do some exciting shit himself to fabricate a report about it later. Or is he to good to cheat? Not an option for me anyway. So should I just be Charlie Kaufman and go on about the difficulties of writing the screenplay for Adaption, until I’m suddenly in the film myself? Oh dear, I’m going nowhere with this. I need to clear my head.
Jegong actually provide a very suited score to do just that. Based on hypnotic Krautrock you can easily cleanse your mind by just letting the pure sounds - oscillating, floating, droning, pushing forward - swoosh through your ears and body. But even though you can choose to experience the album that way, the Swiss-American duo is constantly changing things up with vivid details, which always allow you to lean in deeper, discover something and enjoy the music on a more cerebral level.
I just realized that when I’m in the first, more intuitive mode of listening, I don’t even care how most of the sounds are created. It’s just the drums and the rest. So when “Come To The Center” opens the album with a fast Motorik beat and that certain energy that makes it feel like an instrumental track by Slift, you don’t necessarily care that not nearly as much of it is made with guitars as it feels like, just on the base of how much this rocks. With every track concentrating on different kinds of (non-)grooves and moods, other comparisons come to mind, which stem from the sphere of repetitive Psych like early Radar Men From The Moon, but there are also passages which remind me of the doom-laden Synthwave of Pinkish Black or just massive Swans noise excesses.
In regard to the duo’s main bands there are less similarities than one could expect. Sum Of R may also have a significant Krautrock influence, but even though Jegong don’t shy away from harshness and nonconformismn, it’s certainly presented in a purer, more straight-forward, possibly also more accessible fashion here. The epic Post Rock of Mono stays absent until wider arrangements like “Focus Defocus” on the album’s second half; but even there Dahm, as he is usually credited when drumming for the Japanese quartet, expresses himself in a different style. However the distinctive vibrancy in his playing, which sparked Mono with a new boost of energy since he joined them, is very present and alive here, too.
Ultimately this album repels pinpoint categorization and doesn’t go out of its way to cater to a specific crowd. Or to put it in clichéd label bias: I’d rather take this for a Rocket Recordings than the Pelagic Records release it actually is. Both suggests something pretty huge and mighty though, so the actual shoe sits just fine. It is mighty, it is mighty good. And the cathartic potential of The Complex Inbetween is undeniable.
Ok. I think I’m not doing as bad as I thought I would. Those were actually a couple music-related paragraphs. So now I should probably rewind this whole thing, edit out the gibberish and turn this into a proper, less self-indulgent write-up. That seems like too much of a hassle though. And it’s so warm outside. And I have plans. And time is running short. That overall combination is kryptonite. See? Spelled it correctly.