Double review—Jet Jaguar & Luke Killen :: Grounded / Tending The Nest (DataDoor)

Perhaps an interesting collaboration would be to combine both Jet Jaguar and Luke Killen’s talents—one brawn and beauty. Mind and body. Who knows, a vigorous and more complex animal may emerge. Jet Jaguar is downbeat and minimal but warm and calm, like these field recordings have cheerful memories grounded into them. It should be of no surprise that Killen is far more focused on the rhythmical muscle of electronica.

Composer Michael Upton (aka Jet Jaguar) creates pleasant and light electronica from samples and field recordings. The idea is that the music when combined with field recordings is from an actual place, or in his own words “grounded in history.” This makes the aptly titled Grounded feel scenic, as each track goes by it’s as if Jet Jaguar is visually taking you to a real place with real meaning. A kind of soundtrack-to-your-life, to not go over the top, when thinking of historical recordings and music.

Jet Jaguar’s music is often relaxed, meditative and quite soft. Downbeat and minimal but warm and calm, like these field recordings have cheerful memories grounded into them. That’s not to say Jet Jaguar’s sound is simple. Grounded is fluid in style, ambient by nature, with world, dub, and psychedelic elements to name but a few. Shades of the famous European video-game composer Tomas Dvorak are amongst his ambient tracks, “Bright Light” and “Funny,” while one can hear a more commercial, American style, like Cliff Martinez, in tracks “Costa,” or “Grey Warbler.” Grounded really is an accomplished and fine piece of work that maintains a concentrated enjoyable pace all of the way through.

Luke Killen’s work is like the B-side of the slow rhythmic delicacies of Jet Jaguar. It should be of no surprise that Killen is far more focused on the rhythmical muscle of electronica. Tending The Nest does have some sparser ambient moments, but these are only for slowing the pace of a record. Most of Killen’s style ranges from Autechre as wide as John Tejada.

An unfair point of comparison is that Tending The Nest’s ambient moments are not near as interesting as Grounded‘s but its faster paced, uptempo tracks, “11-08-15,” and “Acoustic Stings” are polished and satisfying pieces of electronica, that would be sure to bombastically raise the roof on even the most underground of dance venues.

Perhaps an interesting collaboration would be to combine both Jet Jaguar and Luke Killen’s talents—one brawn and beauty. Mind and body. Who knows, a vigorous and more complex animal may emerge.

Record label, DataDoor, has been releasing their catalogue exclusively on tape, as limited edition. It’s really quite wonderful. Both of these records were reviewed only in their digital format—the warmth an analog form may bring could show another dimension to the each of the artist’s sound.

Both Grounded and Tending The Nest are available on DataDoor.

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