Jellephant: Dull Planet / Rotten Waves (Grey Productions)
Ltd LP | DL
Apparently, this is the eighth album by Arnhem-based Jellephant, despite the prolific output the name was new to myself; having had it on rotation for the past 24hrs I am now avidly seeking out his back catalogue.
Frustratingly the label offered scant information, but after a bit of rooting around I was able to establish that Jelle(phant) Haagsma is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Jellephant began his musical career in 2008 creating instrumental and electronic experiments often classified as ‘music for film’ drawing inspiration from psychedelia, surf and garage, despite his prodigious release schedule ‘Dull Planet / Rotten Waves’ followed a three year period of inactivity, until in 2018 Haagsma “suddenly had the idea for ‘Tumble’, and the rest of the songs came soon after that.”
‘Dull Planet / Rotten Waves’ has all of his earlier influences in abundance, yet Haagsma has crafted an entirely unique album that carefully balances and blends each genre, couple this with some stunning production and this album could be one of the surprises of 2020.
Opener ‘Silver Bugs’ is propelled by a shuffling drum refrain alongside a warm solid bass that secures the track allowing some neat Bo Diddley slashes and hushed Chris Isaack or JAMC ‘Stoned & Dethroned’ era vocals, the pace is reduced for ‘Tumble’ which allows each instrument to fully breath, again the drums are lower in the mix, whilst the slacker surf guitar shimmers beautifully to compliment the perfectly pitched vocals.
‘Blister’ has a 60’s garage vibe to the song structure, think (again) of the JAMC, perhaps The Raveonettes, the guitar work is exemplary, similarly during the instrumental ‘Dull Planet’ which evokes images of sun baked desert via the subtle reverberations. ‘Tru’ surely see’s Jellephant ripping the larger swells, driven by a transfixing jam.
Flip it over for ‘Sun’s Not Setting’ a gorgeous slice of transient sun before drifting off into guitar decay, whilst ‘Cut’ is dripping in echo with a deceptively simple guitar riff ahead of closer ‘Rotten Waves’ which seems to utilise the guitar riff from James ‘Getting Away With It’ whilst Haagsma treats his voice to subtle delay, again the generous production fully benefits the songs layered construction, before stuttering to a tape fade conclusion.
After the hiatus ‘Dull Planet / Rotten Waves’ is very welcome return for Jellephant, a release that should see his unique interpretations reach a wider audience.
Order ‘Dull Planet / Rotten Waves’ HERE
More writing by Phil can be found at his Louder Than War Author’s Archive