A few weeks back, as you may recall, I put out a call for unsigned acts to get in touch. By way of a quick introduction, I don’t think it would be fair of me to put too much of my opinion in these pieces, as I’m not the kind of person who’s very good at making his mind up quickly, so they will be compiled primarily from information given to me by the artists.
Anyway, since he was the first to contact me, I decided it was only fair to start with Jonteknik, who has a new album out called Giants Under the Microscope.
In a way it’s a bit of a mystery that Jonteknik is unsigned, actually, as he is no stranger to the music business. He started making music around 1988, and quickly picked up accolades from Music Technology magazine, The Mix, Melody Maker and Future Music. After a couple of singles in 1993, his major breakthrough came in 1996 when he met producer Pascal Gabriel, who introduced him to Claudia Brücken, with whom he would ultimately collaborate on the Onetwo project (which I’ll review here in full one of these days as it’s one of my favourite albums ever).
His first full solo album was Sounds from the Electronic Garden, released in 2009, from which we’ll listen to the Kraftwerk-inspired King of the Mountains in just a moment. Giants Under the Microscope is his new instrumental follow-up.
I asked Jon to gather together a quick “demo” of three tracks for us to share, so the first track we’ll listen to today is Manoeuvres:
It’s hard not to like this gentle beats-driven instrumental taken from the new album, but more compelling still is the beautiful northern imagery in the video, with its deserted roads and wind turbines.
Second up is King of the Mountains:
You’d be a fool if you didn’t spot the influence of Tour de France here, and as a tribute to the Düsseldorf pioneers and their musical importance, it’s excellent. I will add that as a cyclist myself I’m not sure this quite captures the spirit of the road in the way that Kraftwerk did, but that could just be the lack of “oooh” and “aaah” sounds.
Third for this set is his collaboration with Martin Philip Pride in Your Pocket:
Apparently Vince Clarke likes it, which is good enough for me. This one is pop, with slightly dark undertones in the background. A great and very varied trio, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Just for a fun bit of background, I compiled a few really obscure questions for all the acts featured in this series. Here are some highlights from the world of Jonteknik:
What’s your favourite synth, and why?
Arturia Oberheim SEM-V soft synth, it has a brilliant fat sound and I find the arpegiator so infectious.
If I forced you to do an exclusive cover version, what would it be?
Electricity by OMD.
Nobody really listens to music any more. Discuss.
Life has become a full time job in itself. People seem to have left time to relax and chill so music becomes a soundtrack to doing ‘stuff’. I also think the advent of portable devices such as mobile phones and ipods have given music the job of helping to pass the time while on the move. You will also notice at gigs that more and more people are just talking to their mates, it is so infuriating! I just want to say “Shut up and listen to the music!”
It’s not all bad. Music is instantly accessible these days so there is more chance of us audiophiles being able to find new acts that we wouldn’t have discovered before, I’ve found online music magazines and blogs are great for the discovery of new music. Open your eyes and your ears will follow, rewarding your mind with new sonic adventures.
The latter, in particular, I thought was a rather wonderful response. Jon was actually kind enough to send me his full album too, and while it would be unfair to review it in full in this piece, I can tell you that I really enjoyed it. Highlights for me were Robot Music and Muckle Flugga.
If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard today, Jonteknik‘s Bandcamp page is here: http://jonteknik.bandcamp.com/