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  • Filed under: Review
  • 02/12/2014

Juju & Jordash "Waldorf Salad" b/w "Third Planet from Altair"

On their releases for Dekmantel, Golf Channel, and a handful of other labels, Gal "Juju" Aner and Jordan "Jordash" Czamanski have favored abstraction over linearity, the sudden surprise of a wrong note to predictable perfect pitch. Their skill with delirious breakdowns and eccentric timbral shifts peaked on 2012's Techno Primitivism, which satisfied an increasing demand from many listeners for music that sounded like it was on the edge of collapse rather than encased in Lucite. Presenting a warped alternative to the slick-and-sleepy deep house of the moment, the diversity and sheer fun of Techno Primitivism elevated Juju & Jordash to new levels of critical acclaim; the pair's wonky, unrehearsed live sets have even become increasingly common on the international festival circuit. At its best, the duo's music is improvisation without academic suffocation, and asserts abstraction as a capable party-starter.

Juju & Jordash's new 12" on Dekmantel continues the pair's focus on improvisation rather than prolonged compositional processes, with plentiful burps and hiccups suggesting loose knobs and finicky keys. There's a distinct relationship here to the churning unease of Joey Anderson's recent Fall Off Face EP on Dekmantel, as well as the one-take tracks of raw newcomers like Jay Daniel. The kaleidoscopic melody on "Waldorf Salad" is elusive enough to encourage multiple listens, while ossified, jacking percussion suggests that in their continuing exploration of wild improvisation, Juju & Jordash have reached an elevated understanding of the power of pure simplicity. The song's crunchiness is a tad wearing, but sonorous blobs of bass and other accumulated filigrees add refinement to the hardware jams. "Third Planet from Altair" has a more celestial feel, but does meander a bit, its runtime clocking in at nine-plus minutes. Sporting a clenched-fist kick tempered by intricate synths, it's a well-balanced piece of shimmering techno, one that never strays too far toward melodic cheese or percussive monotony.

On the whole, both tracks here manage to sound casual yet utterly composed, offering a rebuke to aimless hardware jams. Improvisation this spirited rarely holds up to sharp editing, as manic energy is often sacrificed during the process of compacting hours of tossed-off riffs and rhythmic mishaps. However, in the skilled hands of Juju & Jordash, the music's numerous twists and turns coalesce into an engaging journey.

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