Jel - Soft Money

"My favourite on this LP though has to be Soft Money, Dry Bones, which sets the scene Depeche Mode-style, before settling down to a rap with an incredibly poetic set of observations (God I sound like such a Sunday school teacher here don't I? I'm such a drip…) "

 



Jel – Soft Money (Southern Records/Konkurrent)


 


I read in the sleeve notes that this LP is over a year old. Still I don't care, it's getting reviewed, and that's the end of it. I haven't heard an LP like this for a long time and in that respect to hear its opulence and looseness is very refreshing; its feel is very much akin to stuff Mowax were putting out in the mid nineties.


 


To Buy a Car sets the scene for this LP, lots of voices going on about making deals, until they are swept aside by a fuzz-heavy beat, interspersed with samples of raps and other disengaged voices. There's a spaciousness and inventiveness that's immediately apparent. The follow up track, All Day Breakfast builds on a stentorian beat that is offset in turn by what seems to be a sitar (though it could be a sample), which of course, allows the track a great deal of room in which to extemporize further beats and samples. If you need a reference, cast your mind back to Talvin Singh and you're not that far away.


 


Elsewhere, All Around introduces the frail voice of Stephanie Bohm – her whisper seems spookily at odds with the menacing, metallic percussive nature of the backing. Somehow it seems to fit. Bohm embarks on a strange insistent lecture half way through. It really is monumentally strange stuff. My favourite on this LP though has to be Soft Money, Dry Bones, which sets the scene Depeche Mode-style, before settling down to a rap with an incredibly poetic set of observations (God I sound like such a Sunday school teacher here don't I? I'm such a drip...) Read this, its either bollocks or very good, take your pick.


 


A Gallup poll of dry bones published overnight...


A marine dinner theatre: a cast of bones,


White as last moons, on a wide stage of glass.


Saddam's saluting statue in the fatal fifth act,


Face fitted with a flag-knotted blindfold.


 


A stern king kneeled into Court TV...


 


Know You Don't, the following track is an endearingly wobbly funk work, out whereas WMD is the My Generation riff slowed down and used as a base for a great anti-Bush rant. It's fabulous stuff. Mislead and Chipmunk Technique are both sample-heavy mood pieces lasting barely a minute (the latter being particularly deranged), whereas Nice Last is a very ethereal piece, regularly alternating between extreme navel gazing and strutting work outs.


 


Good stuff! A great piece of work and thoroughly recommended.


 


Words: Richard Foster.