Review Summary: Nudging at genre boundaries ever so gently.
Upon browsing Jaytech's releases on Beatport, one meets with a slight dilemma: all of his songs are labeled "Progressive House." It's not a gross oversimplification of his style: his "progressive house" songs do indeed have some defining progressive house characteristics. He's fond of melodic piano lines and some light synth chords, plus most of the songs labeled as such do in fact maintain a house beat. The main issue with this kind of labeling, then, is that sticking a single genre's tag on a Jaytech song usually detracts a bit from the subtle genre-bending he tends to do. Sure, there are progressive house elements, but there's also the repetition and lower-range synths favored in deep house, some clickety-clackety drums which could be construed as tech house, and every so often some trance-like vocals. Jaytech has always been slightly more complex than any one electronic genre usually is, so in return for easier categorizing Beatport gives up some of Jaytech's sound, a sound that's difficult to describe in two words.
As one might expect, then, Multiverse is more of the same, but it's also unsurprisingly a bit more than that. Pianos still abound, most of the songs are indeed house, and Beatport has labeled every single one of the 13 album tracks as progressive house, even the two downtempo pieces at the end. And, again, Multiverse is another case of gently pushing the boundaries of his so-called progressive house slightly further away from where they were originally. It's not really formulaic, at least not nearly as much as most of the drivel you'll find in the prog-house top 10, but at the same time it's not all too innovative either. That's mostly where the album falls short: when all is said and done, everything sounds just a tad too safe. It's not to say that all the songs sound the same, as there are some really incredible pieces on the album. "Labour Of Love" almost sounds like what Pendulum's "The Island" would be if it weren't meant to be a banger: a driving, repetitive, and subdued bassline thumps softly along behind twinkly and almost string-like chords backing up heavily effected yet beautiful vocals. Meanwhile, "Dr. Device" is as close to tech house as Jaytech seems to be willing to go with his shimmering synth leads - it's got the necessary repetition, but it's not quite as machine-like as someone like Umek or Koen Groeneveld. It's a song in a pool of songs that represent a case of falling just beyond easily-definable house. Unfortunately, after close to an hour of the same thudding kick over and over again the subtle beauty of the individual songs starts to decay as the slightly overlong first 11 tracks start to take a toll on the listener.
Just as fortunately, as one might start to lose hope for the last bit of the album two excellent downtempo songs come in to close off the album. Yet again, they're an example of Jaytech's pieces not quite fitting anywhere - they sound like they could be house, but there's not much room in house for 95 BPM pieces. "Blue Ocean" is probably the one that most deserves a mention, as it's a standout track on the album as a whole. The best descriptor would probably be "groovy" - it conjures images of a chilled out jazz lounge with its piano chords behind an almost-funky bassline and smooth singing. And really, it's the poster child for an album which doesn't quite fit anywhere, at least not easily. Jaytech should be lauded for his attempts to go slightly beyond the norm, but until he goes any farther he'll simply remain an above-average artist. Multiverse is a good album - don't get me wrong - but it feels like it could have been so much more with only a little more forceful of a push.
That's just a really horrible appraisal of a genre, even if you're just trying to simplify the description for the sake of brevity. Like, does the sound of percussion make a genre now? (and what are tech drums exactly?)
I get what you're trying to do in the 1st paragraph; hey, here's a guy who dabbles in a lot of different sounds. But is it really a dilemma that Beatport (and frankly everywhere) list Jaytech as progressive house (which constitutes 99% of his sound). Like, they have to put something. If he occasionally uses some low-end synths (which doesn't automatically make it deep house fyi) he's still making house, and it has a progressive lean to it
I guess I've always thought that that clickety sound constituted tech house (or at least the popular stuff), and that's why I thought the drums in Dr. Device were techy-ish. It can be construed as tech house, it's not exactly, but it's close.
You're right, it's closest to progressive house. I had a tough time with this review and I thought what stood out most to me was the fact that labeling everything here (including the last two tracks) progressive house puts it in the same category as things I wouldn't normally associate with Jaytech. Like, when I hear prog house thrown around most of the time, it's usually in terms of Zedd/Alesso/SHM shit or in terms of Kaskade/older Deadmau5, and I don't really think this fits in with that stuff. Again, it's just my opinion, but I feel like labeling this especially "progressive house" doesn't quite work. It's a bit less offensive than this, but it's kind of like labeling Burial as "dubstep" - it's technically correct, but it feels so wrong.
In all seriousness, though, this is probably the first thing I've reviewed as far as my electronic tastes go that you might actually like. I may be totally wrong, but give "Diode" or "Coda" a try - I feel like it may be your thing (fingers crossed).
Also, I feel like becoming a mod has taken the edge off your comments a bit - that's probably the nicest thing you've said to me :P
Also, you don't have to worry so much about making sure that everything is covered, label wise. Is he making house music? Yes is it progressive? Yes, but is it necessary to mention that? No. So, it's a house release. Covered
Also if you want clickety clackety drums, you need to be talking about garage
I know Burial is indeed dubstep, but again it feels just a bit wrong to just leave it at that. It's like, his "kindred" stuff is quite different from most of the stuff in the genre and labeling it as dubstep and nothing else takes away some from the beauty of the whole thing. This may just be me, but I don't feel like it's a good thing to put certain artists in a box defined by a single genre, and this album is just barely one of those examples. Maybe it is just me, learning about electronic from the Internet and hearing tune after tune of the same thing over and over again, but what that's done is make it so that when I do end up hearing something slightly different I'm hesitant to put the same tag on it.
Again, what are techno drums? Percussion lines designed for techno, like pads and snares? And repetitive noises are a staple of dance music as a whole, it's not limited to one genre
All tech house is (and I knew this discussion would include a genre description at some point) is the minimal basslines and cold melodies of techno and applied to a kind of "generic" house structure, standard 4x4 beat. It has nothing to do with the sound of the drums, nor does any genre
That's exactly what I mean. Give a listen to Dr. Device and tell me if I'm way off or not, since I well may be, but at the moment I do think that it has some of the "cold" techno shit applied to a 4x4 beat.
You're right, percussion alone doesn't define a genre, I just had trouble thinking of what to put down for a quick summary of why Jaytech's stuff could technically be construed as tech house since it's not really a genre I listen to all that much. Thanks for the feedback, I'll be sure to describe it better next time it happens to come up in a review.
i hardly see how any of this could be considered "prog-house". Then again, I still have a hard time defining house, since I can't see the genre similarities between guys like Kaskade and Kerri Chandler