Although musically of a very different world to the two Jim’s of the title, namely Morrison and Hendrix, this new piece from that mad sonic professor, 5G4B, is most definitely a fine tribute to them. And, given that both men were trying to explore new musical space, push creative boundaries, not to mention explore their own hedonistic limits, I like to think that they would approve.
As always, the track gets down to work without any fuss or foreplay, diving straight into a heavy drum and bass groove, a rush of relentless energy which drives us through the sonic complexities of this track. And as always, its a blistering and busy affair, one which seems to revel in its own internal chaos as a way to find new creative realms to conquer. And amongst this musical maelstrom, you catch the sound of everything from ticking percussion between the main bass pulses, warped brass salvos, strange, wandering synth soundscapes and an array of spoken word and strange vocals.
Some of the voices are samples of the original artist, often twisted into new sounds and shapes, others seem to be either echoing their lyrics or commentating on them, others still seem to be doing their own thing, perhaps just holding tight and happy to be along for the ride.
Relentless is the word, but we know that to be 5G4B’s signature by now. And even though he is happy to throw everything into these long and exploratory tracks, enough material that some, perhaps more patient and pastoral artists would make a whole album out of, it is his skill to make everything heard which is astonishing. Banks of vocals cascade down and around each other, like a choral argument, voices, old and new crossing, conversing and creating music from just their words. This sits on top of a jungle-infused, drum and bass machine, one where beats come fast and furiously. And between the two there is enough space left for all manner of sonic tricks and traps to play out.
If Morrison and Hendrix were considered innovators of their day, so 5G4B is similarly important and inventive in this day and age. He might mine a musical seam very different from theirs, there might be much more competition these days, but anything which is this radical, odd, different, smart, inventive and unique has to share some of their sonic space. Space where norms are smashed, where adventure and exploration is the name of the game, where boundaries are there to be crossed, barriers destroyed and genres ignored or at least reinvented.
Innovation is where you find it, inventivenessall around, you just have to know where to look. 5G4B proves that such qualities are not only still alive and kicking, but gaining momentum. And that is certainly a spirit which we need to nurture and support in this conformist, unadventurous, often creatively dull world.