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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

THE JUPITER 8: Songs from the Engine Room Part 1 (2005)

Updated: Feb 7, 2022

A good album that will please fans of prog and electronic music from the 70's

1 Fifth Blob From The Sun 16:56

2 Sea Of Tranquility 14:41

3 Red Spot 24:22

(DDL 55:59) (V.F.)

(Progressive EM, Krautrock)

The Jupiter 8 is a musical project surrounded by an aura of mystery. An anonymous musician (OJ) who nests on the same label as Andy Condon (A-frame Media), the man behind The Glimmer Room, and who participated in a concert of this one in July 2005, Stages Echoed. An enigmatic but likeable character who likes to experiment with his sonic intrusions in a musical world divided between the conventional and the unconventional, i.e. guitars and bass versus synths, sequencers and software. SONGS FROM THE ENGINE ROOM Part I is a reflection and experimentation on the electronic and psychedelic genres of the 70's. OJ dresses his sounds with a mixture of genres on minimalist structures, giving a result as fascinating as captivating. Open your ears and enter the universe of The Jupiter 8.

Fifth Blob From the Sun begins with a synth line that frantically oscillates in an eerie interstellar void. Strange sound effects circulate in the background, initiating a rhythmic pattern shaped by good percussions. A percussive drumming with arrhythmic hits is joined by a good bass line. And the structure of Fifth Blob From the Sun is in place. A synth comes to spread out its silky strata which undulate like spectral masses under galactic sound effects. The rhythm is constant and oscillates between a hypnotic techno and an unbridled jazz with guitar solos which overhang a long minimalist movement where the synth layers pile up and undulate. It's a long hypnotic track, like those long repetitive tracks of the psychedelic years, full of subtle changes and oscillations that nail the listener to his speakers in order to catch all the nuances. Sea of Tranquility is built on the same principle. A long groovy track installed on a superb structure, always so hypnotic and minimalist, well anchored on a good bass line whose chords are rowing in a heavy resonance. Again here, the synth layers flow like tender spectral chants. They crisscross this languidly bewitching structure with moulding strata that move in slow motion, weaving long gyrating circles and creating a fine syncopated line that grafts itself towards the middle of Sea of Tranquility. A Manuel Göttsching-like guitar comes to throw its chords which drag with a nice casualness under spectral synth sinuosity. A superb hypnotic track, which bewitches from the first to the last key.

Sound effects simulate a strange aquatic world. Stray notes freeze in space-time, creating a curious cosmic delirium that evolves over an atonal structure. Distant metallic drum rolls can be heard, and the rhythmic structure of Red Spot comes to life just like the intro of Fifth Blob From the Sun. But Red Spot is longer, more corrosive and more experimental with resonant loops that flutter over a structure rooted in a good flowing bass. In fact, The Jupiter 8 has fun on Red Spot, which evolves on a slow movement with tinges of an undulating groove in a cosmic atmosphere. It's a minimalist movement divided by stops and where ambient passages are shaken by percussions and a bass with long sinuous chords. The synth subdivides its enveloping strata while escaping some melodious snippets. Hypnotic and minimalist, the track caresses all the musical styles explored on SONGS FROM THE ENGINE ROOM Part I, making of this long 25 minutes track an audacious musical adventure where the bewitching rhythms caress the galactic ambiences on a contemporary sound canvas.

The Jupiter 8's goal is achieved. SONGS FROM THE ENGINE ROOM Part I is an astonishing cosmic trip with slow and long improvisations more psychedelic than electronic in the spirit of the 70's. Fifth Blob from the Sun and the superb Sea of Tranquility could easily make Ashra's repertoire. As for Red Spot, it is a little slow but tenderly hypnotic. A good album that will please fans of prog and electronic music from the 70's, where improvisations stuck to well-fed minimalist structures. It should also appeal to fans of a more lively and less conventional EM, genre groovy, hip-hop and house.

Sylvain Lupari (November 6th, 2010) ***½**

Available at Jupiter 8 Bandcamp

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