Jatun – S/T


Jatun, the Portland, Oregon duo of Alan Grosvenor (guitar, keys, bass, loops) and Scott Worley (vocals, keys, guitars, laptop), use swirling electronics, treated guitars and fuzzy beats to craft an eclectic mix of trippy electronica on their self-titled debut album.

The 13 tracks on this hour-long musical voyage explore many facets of the electronica genre from celestial chill-out to vocal-less trip-hop to fuzzy space-rock and even catchy synth-pop. In fact there is quite a bit going on at all times and it is a lot for the listener to decipher as the many layers of these electronic mini-symphonies require a few spins before it can all be digested. But after indulging repeatedly, the listener’s appetite for luxurious electronica will be satiated, especially if taken with the advice of the band and a set of headphones is used.

The mostly instrumental compositions take cues from the progressive and gauzy electronic swells of M83, the floating and expansive melodies of Blue States and BT and the subtle electronic skittishness of Royksopp. But even with all of the different styles and influences appearing on this ambitious endeavor, Jatun manage to use them for colors that add texture and substance to their own sonic arrangements. The few vocals appear only fleetingly and are shrouded in a haze, amount to only a whisper and are quickly washed away by the music.

The pieces range from short and sweet synth-based space tunes to long, sweeping cinematic soundscapes to melodic tracks with electronic beats, bass and guitars. All are enhanced with a plethora of instrumental flurries that vary from track to track and drift in and out of the mix. These adornments include soaring, celestial guitars treated with lots of sustain and reverb, swirling synthetic sound waves, deep, resonating bass, and bristly beats, often heard floating on a bed of multi-layered electronics with nebulous sound treatments.

Although at times some of the tracks feel a bit cluttered with blurred melodies and too much fuzz, these minor flaws don’t detract much from the overall effect. And even with the track to track tempo and style variations, the album doesn’t feel rambling. These changes of pace are not a distraction but actually a welcoming trait as Jatun don’t get bogged down in any one style and manage to keep it fresh and stimulating for the full sixty minutes.