Review Summary: just hold on.................................................................................................
There is a persistent nagging suckle, the anticipation for an experimental artist to be bona fide, warping form and hijacking structure and rendering sounds that don’t belong at home, and changing, always, restlessly. We want every subsequent golem to be meaner and uglier, and we want one at a steady tick of two year intervals, please. We want integrity without pandering, richness without indulgence, gratification without drag. We want the artist to make inconsistent compositions on a consistent elevation. This brunt is real and a hefty cross to bear. There is little in the scope of a music lover that stings quite as much as when that good faith falters. No matter how boundless and vaguely-bordered the spectrum of ‘experimental’ music can appear to be, the margins separating mainstream modalities and unintelligible dross can be razor-thin. Previous triumphs can fuck
you, just as surely as they once hoisted you up.
And then there are moments when the artist’s past glories all conflate into a perfectly-willed mutant whole. In the thick, melancholic march of “And Then the Anointing Fell,” Jamire Williams pulls all of his past dalliances into one two-minute trickle. Everything he had cut his teeth on merges without a single seam – his percussion work for nu-jazz favourite Jeff Parker, collaborations with hallowed organist Dr. Lonnie Smith; his production for Solange, solo drum efforts, as well as EMIRAJ, a shapelessly frantic group whose body of work came and went to shamefully scant attention. “Anointing” is a point of convergence, dense and sad and somehow both sharp and strangely weightless, gauze over gloss.
The rest of But Only After You Have Suffered
travels down a similar vein, a run through an artist’s pivots of inspiration. You can hear Williams' vision come alive at most every point of this claustrophobic, pulsing mess. “Just Hold On” is gospel passed through a meat mincer. “Ugly” rides out a beat that sits somewhere between DJ Premier’s viscous East Coast shake and MF Doom minimalism. “When It Gets Dark” is so beautific, it's almost a rougher, fraying James Blake number. An then there is “Pause in his Presence,” a drunken mesh of tape loops, soul and glitchy pop, and by far the runaway best track of Williams’ ascension into his own skin. By the time the piece ends on the snapped echo of Lisa E. Harris’ voice, an oddly welcome emptiness descends. An if an experimental artist’s path really is sliced through with such staggering expectancy and unlikely forecasts, one thing is clear - Jamire Williams is not yet ready to collapse to diminishing returns.