Artist: Jarboe, Justin Broadrick
Label: The End Records
Release Date: 3/18/2008
Genre: Art Rock/Avant Garde Pop
Where do I even begin on this one? Perhaps it’s best to line out the creators of the project to get a little better understanding about what this actually is. “J2” is the resulting piece of “music” that comes from the talented if not unique minds of singer/songwriter Jarboe (former of Swans) and Justin Broadrick (Jesu and Godflesh) who together have released a rather confusing and difficult listen for those who are unfamiliar with the roads that Ambient and Experimental music often takes. As the CD begins with the song “Decay”, we find Jarboe cooing in a sort of airy, dreamy and hypnotic manner but that is all she does while a deep bass tone strums over it. I felt this could have been dealt with had it not been over seven minutes long because when it ended I felt a sigh of relief and hoped that change would come fast. “Decay” was a lot like Bjork with its weird vibe. “Let Go” serves up something more along the lines of an actual song and it sounded like Portishead to me but that’s ok since some of their stuff is rather interesting. The steam picks up a little bit more with the very Gathering like tune “Magick Girl” and I felt the album would have snared me instead of scared me had they chose to open it with this one. This song is a deep and brooding piece musically and runs almost nine minutes long. Jarboe has a lot in common with Anneke on this one as well, and it is potentially the best selection on the release. More weirdness comes into play with the tunes “Romp” and while the riffs sounded appealing and moody to me there was a lot of stuff happening with the vocals that I felt was taking away from it. These effects and samplings of numerous vocal styles and explorations can really leave the listener scratching their head sometimes.
This is an album that is not at all Metal, or even holding the traces of Progressive so it made me wonder what The End Records was thinking for delivering it after giving us winners such as Agalloch and Unexpect. Perhaps they are trying to expand the listeners mind and I could be guilty of not “getting” it, which would be true since Art and Ambient Rock is such a difficult thing to lock into for your conventional listener and even one who focuses on a number of genre specifications. It’s not overall terrible, but it is really difficult to get through at times. Considering that it really only had two tracks that I took as actual songs makes J2 more for the more devoted fans of these contributors as opposed to anyone else. Select wisely with this one, or at least go to an online store and purchase the ones I said were more enjoyable if you are willing to gamble.
2. Let Go
3. Magick Girl
5. Tribal Limo
Official Website: www.thelivingjarboe.com