7JK - Anthems Flesh
Electro, Classical This one will, I know, take you by surprise. A cross continental collaboration between Matt Howden and Poland's Job Karma that delivers brilliantly connective threads of melody, misanthrope, mirth and most assuredly, musicianship. With bow in hand, our fearless violinist has gone down an unexpected path. I've heard song structure out of him as Sieben but it's never been like this. Imagine, if you will, the delicate almost mournful playing he usually does combined with a thorough dousing of beats, electronics and rigorously unorthodox near spectral arrangements. This should give you an appreciation of what awaits your ears on Anthems Flesh. I'll only deliver an inkling because the complexity and engagingly devious nature of these tunes I've been listening to for the last couple of weeks took their time unwinding. 7JK's debut is not for the meek, Howden's vocals jump all over the place becoming at times more of an invocation than the lyrical content they masquerade as.

Wroclaw in the Rain, End of the Year, Boxed in Green and 47 Words for Sheffield (which is, of course, where he hails from) are the core of Anthems Flesh. But if you think it's all grey and dour, you'll have sold this album short. We're given a cover of the OMD classic Maid of Orleans which is the best version yet I have heard (sorry Mila Mar). Howden's intonation hangs heavily upon the cost Joan paid for her convictions. Heartbreaking yes, yet also quite regal and sublimely elegiac. The proud look of one who will not bend or break no matter what end such iron resolve leads to. Job Karma provide a steady, rollicking beat behind the words and then towards the end introduce a guitar I can only describe as disorientating. Following up this high point, we're shown the darkly amusing world of Planning for Zombie Apocalypse. Choose your options well, your companions could well become your provisions. Do you prefer the fortified quadrant or a high rise serenaded by pulleys with a chorus of zombiefied bankers providing the backdrop.

Whenever I encounter the work released by Redroom, I'm repeatedly reminded of what is possible even now in this day and age of digital assimilation. Try as I might to draw parallels to another label releasing this, I cannot; Anthems Flesh skips between droning eviscerations of violin and minimal backing tracks to full blown screaming bombastic majesty. The tension continually builds throughout what 7JK have crafted, it is the one constant I can pick out amongst the imaginative variances in tone and timbre. You're glumly getting pulled this way and that during Organ Madness but then a tune like The World's Pain jumps out at you much like a thistle in the face. You want to pull back because of the stinging lingering pain and yet something inside of you says to disregard the temporal restraints of flesh which brings us to the last song on here I'm going to mention and the true reason Anthems Flesh gives me the pleasure it does.

Keith Howden, Matt's father, is a poet, well actually he is much more than that. This is a man who like Alan Moore weaves worlds of words out of mere thought; his densely interlocking style of composition has held my interest since the first airing of his collaboration with his son: The Matter of Britain. If -and this is a big if- you liked that release then prepare to rejoice, the title track of this record is a taster of the forthcoming Barley Top which this pair are preparing to unleash upon the world. I do not know if it'll be on there but the direction they're hinting at which they've taken is going to reward us many times over. The inner sleeve of Anthems Flesh even gives a catalog number for what's coming so with any luck it won't be much longer. The wait has been interminable!

Don't let all of this steal focus from what 7JK have put together: this is the result of master craftsmen meeting and then conjuring up splendorous, darkly monochromatic material the likes of which you could not have heard from anyone else. Bank on it.
5
Brutal Resonance

7JK - Anthems Flesh

9.0
"Amazing"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2012 by RedRoom Records
This one will, I know, take you by surprise. A cross continental collaboration between Matt Howden and Poland's Job Karma that delivers brilliantly connective threads of melody, misanthrope, mirth and most assuredly, musicianship. With bow in hand, our fearless violinist has gone down an unexpected path. I've heard song structure out of him as Sieben but it's never been like this. Imagine, if you will, the delicate almost mournful playing he usually does combined with a thorough dousing of beats, electronics and rigorously unorthodox near spectral arrangements. This should give you an appreciation of what awaits your ears on Anthems Flesh. I'll only deliver an inkling because the complexity and engagingly devious nature of these tunes I've been listening to for the last couple of weeks took their time unwinding. 7JK's debut is not for the meek, Howden's vocals jump all over the place becoming at times more of an invocation than the lyrical content they masquerade as.

Wroclaw in the Rain, End of the Year, Boxed in Green and 47 Words for Sheffield (which is, of course, where he hails from) are the core of Anthems Flesh. But if you think it's all grey and dour, you'll have sold this album short. We're given a cover of the OMD classic Maid of Orleans which is the best version yet I have heard (sorry Mila Mar). Howden's intonation hangs heavily upon the cost Joan paid for her convictions. Heartbreaking yes, yet also quite regal and sublimely elegiac. The proud look of one who will not bend or break no matter what end such iron resolve leads to. Job Karma provide a steady, rollicking beat behind the words and then towards the end introduce a guitar I can only describe as disorientating. Following up this high point, we're shown the darkly amusing world of Planning for Zombie Apocalypse. Choose your options well, your companions could well become your provisions. Do you prefer the fortified quadrant or a high rise serenaded by pulleys with a chorus of zombiefied bankers providing the backdrop.

Whenever I encounter the work released by Redroom, I'm repeatedly reminded of what is possible even now in this day and age of digital assimilation. Try as I might to draw parallels to another label releasing this, I cannot; Anthems Flesh skips between droning eviscerations of violin and minimal backing tracks to full blown screaming bombastic majesty. The tension continually builds throughout what 7JK have crafted, it is the one constant I can pick out amongst the imaginative variances in tone and timbre. You're glumly getting pulled this way and that during Organ Madness but then a tune like The World's Pain jumps out at you much like a thistle in the face. You want to pull back because of the stinging lingering pain and yet something inside of you says to disregard the temporal restraints of flesh which brings us to the last song on here I'm going to mention and the true reason Anthems Flesh gives me the pleasure it does.

Keith Howden, Matt's father, is a poet, well actually he is much more than that. This is a man who like Alan Moore weaves worlds of words out of mere thought; his densely interlocking style of composition has held my interest since the first airing of his collaboration with his son: The Matter of Britain. If -and this is a big if- you liked that release then prepare to rejoice, the title track of this record is a taster of the forthcoming Barley Top which this pair are preparing to unleash upon the world. I do not know if it'll be on there but the direction they're hinting at which they've taken is going to reward us many times over. The inner sleeve of Anthems Flesh even gives a catalog number for what's coming so with any luck it won't be much longer. The wait has been interminable!

Don't let all of this steal focus from what 7JK have put together: this is the result of master craftsmen meeting and then conjuring up splendorous, darkly monochromatic material the likes of which you could not have heard from anyone else. Bank on it.
Apr 24 2012

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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