Jimpster takes us inside his new album: "Silent Stars"
Jamie Odell aka Jimpster is no stranger to the Traxsource family, with 20 years experience under the belt as a label boss, producer, DJ, remixer and overall tastemaker. His labels Freerange and Delusions Of Grandeur are revered for consistently putting out cutting-edge Deep House music and providing a home for the likes of Session Victim, Detroit Swindle, Hyenah, Ben Sun, Toby Tobias, Thatmanmonkz, Manuel Tur, The Black 80s, Nils Penner and Kyodai amongst others and alongside Odell’s own productions. This month sees Jimpster drop his latest album ‘Silent Stars’, something we’re pretty excited about, and we invited him to take us ‘Inside the Album’ to find out more about the release..
The title Migrations comes from the idea of travel and movement from one place to another. As a DJ I often find myself being transported to fairly far-flung places and then back home again in a very short space of time, feeling your feet never really touch the floor. I was reading a great book whilst I was working on this track called Skyfaring. It’s written by a pilot who talks about getting place-lag as opposed to jet-lag. The idea of disorientation from huge changes to your cultural surroundings from travelling long distances in a short space of time. The track is a bit of a melting pot of different samples, sounds and rhythms so it seems a fitting title to give it.
This one was the first track I started on for the LP and the idea was to try to create a bit a jazz meets electronics jam session with lots of sequenced lines bouncing around and morphing in and out of each other. Even though it has quite an improvised sound overall it took quite a long time to produce as I was tweaking almost every single element throughout the entire track, recording effects, filters, EQ and mutes to give it a constantly changing and live feel. I thought about adding a kick drum at some point but then decided against it as it creates a bit more tension without one, like it’s constantly building to something which never materialises. Hopefully, in a good way!
3. Crave ft Florence Rawlings
Crave is a collaboration with a London-based singer called Florence Rawlings and wasn’t originally going to be something for this LP but once we had finished it and played to a few people, we decided it could work quite nicely and seemed to fit in with the vibe of the other tracks even though it was a full vocal. I deliberately kept the production fairly raw and stripped back to compliment the sweeter sounding vocals as I was paranoid about it starting to sound too polished. The lyrics help to give the track a darker undertone which we’ve carried through into the video produced by Vasilisa Forbes which you can check on Youtube.
I think this one is my favourite track on the LP and that’s probably down to the fact that it’s simple, uncluttered and came together quickly and is another one that feels quite spontaneous and jammed. This track relied heavily on the Voyetra Eight synth which is an incredible analogue polysynth from about 1983. The thing just seems to take on a life of its own and with a bit of arduous programming can sound like no other synth around. I’ve always loved ambient music but not actually produced that many Jimpster tracks without beats and I was really happy how this turned out. I’m thinking how nice it would be to work on a new side project which focuses more on ambient and downtempo music along these lines.
5. Where You Are ft Khalil Anthony
This one features Khalil Anthony who I first connected with through his work with Scott thatmanmonkz when he was working on his LP for Delusions and whose Take U 2 My House track I remixed. Originally I sent him a completely different version of the backing track which he recorded the vocal to round at Scott’s place (thanks Scott!) and then I got busy editing the sections and cutting a lot of stuff out to create the right vocal for the new direction the track was taking. This track has just been remixed to great effect by Urulu and will be appearing on the second single coming out in June.
6. The Sun Comes Up ft Jinadu
This one features Jinadu who I first met when I was at music college in Manchester and I’ve worked with before on an old track called State Of Mind and then more recently on These Times. He’s got a really distinctive voice and likes to build up a lot of harmonies on his backing vocals which I really love. I’d actually pretty much finished working on the backing track as an instrumental when he fired over a few different vocal ideas for me to check out. The vibe of one of them fit perfectly so he re-recorded it and the track was transformed into something much stronger. I hope I get the chance to play this at 7am on a beach of a paradise island one day! Look out for the Peggy Gou remix, also on the second single. She nailed it!
7. Tau Tona
Tau Tona is the name of the deepest mine in the world on the outskirts of Johannesburg. It means Great Lion in the Setswana language and I thought it suited the track nicely being both very deep as well as powerful. My good friend Andy Gangadeen who I used to play keyboards with in The Bays recorded drums on this one which brings a great energy and live feel to it. He’s played with everyone from Massive Attack and Soul II Soul through to Global Communications and Chase & Status so it’s an honour for me to have him on the record.
8. Everytime ft Florence Rawlings
I wanted to try and get a slightly more sweet and soulful track on this LP and this was another one that Florence and I did together that ended up working out nicely. It started with just a simple kick and rimshot groove with the basic rhodes chords but I later added more glitchy FX and extra layers of weird pads to give some extra sonic interest and stop it sounding too smooth.
9. Power Of The Doof
This one is a more straight up house track with a classic Jimpster sound and some moody atmospherics that made it a contender for the LP as opposed to releasing on a single. It came together pretty quickly once I got the groove in place and the title is taken from a review of a record I read which was commenting on how people respond to a relentless, pounding four on the floor kick drum. I thought it had a nice a ring to it and used it with a hint of irony seeing as this track isn’t exactly a techno onslaught.
10. Under Wraps
Another personal favourite this one. It was so enjoyable producing a track without any beats for a change and it made me think about trying to write far more eclectic and experimental material than I’m usually doing. It’s very liberating only thinking about sonic textures and harmonies as opposed to beats, build ups and breakdowns! The title suggests something of beauty hidden from view beneath the surface. In the case of this track, it feels a bit like peeling away the layers of sound, and building towards the climax when everything just falls away to reveal the concealed gem.
11. Silent Stars
This one goes out to all the South African house heads that have supported my music and come to see me play over the years. The percussion-heavy groove makes this a strong dance-floor track but I kept plenty of deep atmospherics in there which gives it a majestic quality and after a lot of searching I finally found the right vocal sample to give it the all-important hook that I was after. There’s lots of space to let the rhythm breathe and an enormous sub bass that comes in the breakdowns which sounds mental on a big system!
12. Spend The Night
Just before I started work on the LP I had a few intensive sampling sessions going through all my old jazz, fusion, funk and soul records for some interesting sounds so that once I’m starting on something I have a large pool of stuff to dip into. As with a lot of my productions I normally start a track by getting some different drum samples together to set up a basic groove and once I’d got something happening I went through a bunch of of field recordings I’d made on a recent trip to New York. I found a lovely section on a subway ride from Manhattan out to Brooklyn with a group of older jazz musicians carrying their instruments home after a gig, chatting and laughing together. You can hear one of them repeat ‘spend the night’ right at the start which gave me the song title. Originally I planned for this one to be the final track of the LP but my label partner Tom managed to convince me to include Forever Voyetra which was a personal favourite of his so we ended up adding one more on the LP.
13. Forever Voyetra
This one is a simple little electronic ballad which started from me just sitting down at the Fender Rhodes and working out the chord progression. It’s quite naive sounding but develops into a dense orchestral number with lush strings introduced in the second half. Once again I’m using the Voyetra Eight for the majority of the synth lines and the main arpeggio part. The amazing thing about this machine is the tuning which fluctuates in a really random and beautiful way so you get that Boards Of Canada style drifting. It feels like a positive and optimistic vibe to round off the LP.