Swindle
Long Live The Jazz


4.0
excellent

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
June 15th, 2013 | 56 replies


Release Date: 06/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The jazz lives on

In my opinion, the moment most characteristic of Swindle’s debut Deep Medi album is the point at the beginning of “Pledge Allegiance” where a disembodied, heavily edited voice repeats the album’s title over and over again. The pitch-shifted synthesizer, nasally quick guitar chords, and dubstep-styled bass all contribute to the image the album’s title attempts to create. On Long Live The Jazz, Swindle demonstrates that “the jazz” is very much alive, but in a much different form than the genre’s pioneers must have imagined over the course of its formation at the turn of the 20th century. Rather than upright bass and baby grand plunking out a tune behind a woman scatting in stunning dress and furs at a swanky club or backroom, its new form (in Swindle’s mind at least) takes place in a modern recording studio, every instrument a product of a MIDI keyboard and a copy of Pro Tools, and a packed club, the crowd in baggy T-shirts and cargo pants, high out of their minds, jamming to the sounds coming out of a DJ’s equipment.

Forgive me for the hyperbole here, but Long Live The Jazz is what dubstep should sound like. Rather than confine himself to the tropes prevalent in much of today’s “post-’06-step” which arguably stifle the creativity once found in the style, Swindle fuses said tropes with his own mastery of the keys and knowledge of jazz composition. Call it a gimmick, if you wish – after all, the idea of “hey, let’s fuse X genre with Y style and see how many copies we can sell” has been unfortunately popular over the past few years, and equally as unfortunately it tends to work. However, what makes it seem less gimmicky and more whatever the opposite of “gimmicky” is – “heartfelt,” “true” or “legitimate,” maybe – is how organic the whole thing feels. As much as we all know how much Swindle must have slaved over the album for hours and hours in the studio, perfecting every tap of the hi-hat, it’s surprisingly believable that the producer instead recorded everything live in one take. It has a live feel, an image that is carefully constructed to feel as though it were improvised and created on the spot and is all the better because of it.

Take “Kick It,” for example. The various hand claps, the tight snare rolls, and plucked upright bass contrast starkly with the brutal sub-bass and resounding snare hits of Swindle’s counterparts on label Deep Medi. And, whereas much of the label’s material ends up fading together due to very similar sounds and styles, Swindle stands out thanks to his attention to keeping his own individual sound as well as the sounds of the jazz he loves so much. Whether he’s weaving together languid, twisted vocals and drawn-out brass sections on “When I Fly Away” or matching Terri Walker’s sultry jazz-queen voice with a nasally, wavering synth lead on “Running Cold,” Swindle always takes pains to ensure his sound is his own, full of big-band swagger and poise.

In a recent review for Disclosure’s Settle, Sputnikmusic user Ben Thornburgh complained that it “feel[s] like we’re being fed gimmicks.” Though he was referring specifically to the so-called “EDM revolution” in America, the same can be said about the quote-unquote “serious” dubstep popular in Swindle’s home country of England, which often sees creativity and innovation eschewed in favor of big bass and big drums. Fortunately, Swindle’s fusion of classic jazz sounds and modern dubstep ideas is very much fresh and as far from a gimmick as can be. The album’s cover in conjunction with its title is appropriate, then. As the title is “Long Live The Jazz,” the jazz lives on. The synthesizer which makes up the letters in the title shows how much different jazz’s new form is – no longer a fully organic, live-instrument based experience, Swindle’s version of “the jazz” is very intentionally produced. However, if Long Live The Jazz is any indication, jazz couldn’t be healthier – the creative spirit that fueled its rise in the first place is still alive.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2013


3518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Posted at www.muzikdizcovery.com, album streaming here: https://soundcloud.com/mixmag-1

I suppose I could have touched on the excellent grime that pervades the album as well, but I didn't want to ramble on for too long. Favorite dubstep release of the year so far, just barely surpasses V.I.V.E.K's single

Digging: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


7158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That intro sentence reads weird to me. The moment most characteristic maybe? Or am I reading it wrong? I've still been putting off listening to this, been jamming Zomby too hard. Glad you reviewed it though ill read this in full when I get a chance - just skimmed it now - and check this out once I get time.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2013


3518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks, fixed that

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


With the idea of taking dubstep and fusing it with a different scene or culture, this wins out over something like Mala In Cuba simply because it ends up being a far more enjoyable listen simply because it's so fun. Still not wholly convinced he's achieved everything he's set out to do here though, but that's more because he's attacking his source from a grime perspective.

Review's great though, even though you don't need to begin it with "in my opinion", because we already know it is ;). But:


Forgive me for the hyperbole here, but Long Live The Jazz is what dubstep should sound like.


Why? You go on to say that this is fusing the genre with something else, and the idea of it being a gimmick aside, it's still an odd expression given the circumstance

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Jash
June 15th 2013


4244 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Didn't get down with this album that much, thank god Compa is set to drop his Deep Medi release and turn the labels year around. Good review though man, nice to have someone covering this stuff on here

Epicenter
June 15th 2013


174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think I've completely enjoy dubstep except for this. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for anything jazzy, but it's still good. Nice review, by the way.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


7158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ dev, I'm thinking that's referring more to the fact that it's a unique and interesting take on the genre, rather than referring to the literal sound that's present here.

And I'm mostly with you on this one brostep. I loved Do The Jazz but wasn't completely sold on Forest Funk. I was pretty worried that a full album of this stuff would get stale but I'm impressed with how fresh and reasonably varied this thing stays within the obvious style that's present. I personally do find it to be a little gimmicky though, and the Sam Frank track and the one that follows don't do anything for me.

Some of the solid stuff here can be a bit cheesy to me as well but I'm okay with it. It gets mad points for being such a fun album, and it's rare that I feel that way about dubstep anymore.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


3518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

TMobotron's right here. I know people (especially Dev) have been complaining about the stale sound of the genre, that there hasn't really been much innovation since Midnight Request Line turned the genre on its head, and this takes the idea of "post-'06-step" and changes it up slightly, which is really nice and refreshing

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


I get that, especially if your argument is that this is something that's refreshing. It's just a little underwhelming that this probably will end up being just a gimmick. And I don't mean that in a negative way, but this album will more than likely not end up serving as some kind of harbinger of things to come

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


I remember when you had more comments

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


Then you've strayed beyond your keep

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


Well, yeah. I mean, there's prog too, right?

scissorlocked
June 15th 2013


3511 Comments


the "Do the Jazz" ep was great and now there's album! will check it immediately

nice work man, you should review more of this stuff



Digging: Low Roar - Low Roar

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


I dig techno dude!


Give me an example

bach
June 15th 2013


13137 Comments


"Crazy Frog"

lol sonic

Digging: Tinashe - Aquarius

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


31605 Comments


Hey man, like whatever you like!

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Forgive me for the hyperbole here, but Long Live The Jazz is what dubstep should sound like.

Oh please, I've heard three or four songs off this and they were annoying as hell. You can argue that the current deep dubstep scene is getting kinda stale, but on the other hand, don't try to fix what isn't broken. Especially when the end-result is something like this album.

Jash
June 15th 2013


4244 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

^^^

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2013


3518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Maybe I'm in the minority on this, but I appreciate what Swindle's done here quite a bit. As I pointed out in my review, this is a stark contrast to the other stuff on Deep Medi. Maybe it's "pushing boundaries," maybe it's a gimmick, but I love how "live" and organic everything here is. It's dubstep as seen through Swindle rather than dubstep that caters to the people that'll snatch everything from Tempa or Black Box regardless of quality, and while this might be a stretch I love how it just sounds a little different than everything else - that's kind of what I mean.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2013


6515 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

but I love how "live" and organic everything here is.

See, that's what I really liked about Mala in Cuba (dunno how Dev can like this more than that masterpiece). The Cuban samples to me really sounded like they belonged in those tracks, they blended marvelously with Mala's dark London sound, without actually claiming the spotlight. They acted like accents and in that role, they shined.

Here, I just hear some random clips thrown around every three seconds that in no way improve the fairly standard dubstep wobbles underneath. And it irritates me to no end.

I'm not saying everything Tempa releases is gold these days, far from it actually. But I do appreciate a good tune done right, even if it's as unoriginal as you can get. Kind of like how that Kurt Vile record is one of my favorite releases of the year, hands down, despite the fact he's just blatantly aping what people did in the 70's.



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