My Blog__ Feel Good JASS
JASS is here to make you feel good
Atlanta producer Time Wharp (AKA Patrick Loggins) is starting a record label. He is collecting a group of his favorite producers from the East Coast to start putting music out on JASS. The initial release will be a compilation called Companion I . We're hoping that the driving purpose of this project is to keep those 808's Time Wharp is known for pumping through your veins. But according to JASS's statement, the artists just looking to make bodies move to music that sounds sweet.
What I like about JASS's concept is its commitment to releasing music that feels smooth and can be consumed with pleasure. There is such an emphasis in electronic music these days that gets placed on making sounds that challenge your ears and seek to brush easily digestible melodies against the grain. Everybody wants to come out with something off-kilter, harsh, or unexpected. There are many important and valid reasons for pushing yourself to listen to, and learn to enjoy difficult music. German Critical theorist, Theodor W. Adorno wrote about culture and was fearful of the perversion of pleasure that comes from standardized listening practices. According to his writing, when music is made only to be packaged and distributed for money in a capitalist system, we come to associate quality with familiarity. Instead of liking a piece of music because it is interesting or innovative in some way, we come to like music that sounds like what we know, or sounds like something we've heard before. Adorno encourages individuals to listen to music that challenges that sense of familiarity--often with sounds that are amelodic or abrasive. When all is said and done, if Adorno had his way we'd be listening to Wagner all day and the suicide rate would likely spike. (But we give all due respect to Wagner.)
Of course, in the era of sampling, mixing, chopping and screwing--familiarity and using sounds that are well known becomes a whole different beast. JASS's creator, Time Wharp samples early 90's r&B--like R Kelly in his track "Yrlyf" that we wrote about when it was released. Obviously when you hear a sample from a hit that came out 10 years ago in a brand new track, the recognition of it is the direct source of pleasure that gets people hyped. That familiarity, of a sample that is so instantaneously recognizable, does something different than what Adorno was afraid of. Consciously acknowledging the familiarity of a line like, "I'm just trying to have a good time," from R Kelly's Real Talk uses our ability to recognize a piece of music to imbue that piece with new life. The line is put into a different context, slowed down, or chopped up, and all of a sudden we have to think about it differently. One could even argue that creating music that both calls on the comforts of recognition in sampling, and positions it differently in a way that makes you hear something completely new is more difficult than amassing a bunch of complex, hair raising sounds just to challenge your sense of musicality.
There is something vital to be said for music that moves through your ears and your body with ease. JASS embraces that, and posits that "feel-good emotions win over causticity in 2012." I agree. I'm down to feel good.