Janesta’s Opus – 5G4B (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Trying to work out exactly where 5G4B’s music fits in to the scheme of things depends entirely upon which thread you pull at first. Tug at one funky rhythm and you get a slight inkling as to what’s going on but grab another and you might find yourself holding a soulful break or a hip-hop groove, a dance floor beat or even a jazz-infused musical line. All are interesting. Each imparts and idea. None tell the whole picture. As I found out before when I immersed myself in the heady waters of Chainsaw, it’s a strange world that surround you, one where even the more obvious musical shallows reveal themselves to be full of never-ending hidden depths.

Yes strange is the word for sure but strange is good, right? I’ll take strange over ordinary or predictable any day of the week. Why spend time listening to, or in this case writing about, the latest bunch of indie music saviours who spend all their time checking their complicated hair in the mirror rather than even attempting to add something to the musical canon. Why bother with the latest pop princess who still thinks that belting out sub-Whitney tunes is going to get her noticed? Why indeed? No, strange is good and Janesta’a Opus is the latest slice of sonic strangeness from 5G4B.

Ten-minutes of ever shifting musical textures driven by a funky, dance floor beat and an eclectic and expansive mind set. And although dance and EDM are the most obvious labels to tie to this odd and awesome creation, the music doesn’t really stay in one place long enough for anyone to pigeon-hole it properly, preferring to twist and turn through various generic shifts and fusions and custom creations breaking seeking to break free of any generic assumption and all listener expectations.

Perhaps this is because where most people working in such sonic realms are happy to merely juggle beats and blips, Janesta’s Opus is instead playing with moods and painting scenarios. Where the competition is rooted firmly in an enclosed, inward-looking EDM world, 5G4B instead explores a wider world and merely uses the genre to translate what it finds into a common language.

This gentle musical maelstrom throws classical string swathes into drifting soul vibes, underpins the groove with latin beats or dresses it up with shimmering percussion, it creates bass-driven depths and smooth, sassy, sunshine-fuelled highs. It does all that, something which most artists would need a whole album to do and still not cover anything like the same distance, within the context of one cohesive song. Cohesive but also concise because although there is so much going on musically speaking, it all fits together and feels like it is part of the same natural sonic journey, which of course it is, no detours, no breaks to catch its breath, no distractions.

But the cleverest thing, in a world brimming with clever things, is that you can’t see the joins. Different ideas come and go, instruments and ideas rise up and fade out, yet never do you feel even the slightest jolt as things change. Never do you notice an absence as one sound is gradually and deftly supplanted, as another equally exotic, equally elegance musical thought is turned into sonic reality.

As I said at the beginning, I like music that I can’t just hang a simple soundbite or label on, can’t kick into a well defined generic drawer, music that I didn’t see coming. Well, I didn’t see this coming (although Chainsaw may have prepared me in some small way). I feel like I have been run over by the tour bus of a progressive soul band, experimented on by jazz obsessed extra-terrestrials, have stood on the edge of the musical universe itself, only to realise that the musical universe doesn’t end it just gets harder to put into words the further out you get, and I’ve had a small warehouse containing the back catalogue of a Detroit record label fall on me.

What a way to spend an afternoon. And the weird part is…I can’t wait to do it all again.

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