October 9, 2003

Test Spin: JKettle

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On his website, Jkettle is described as a “mad genius.” That’s a pretty bold claim, given that most mad geniuses don’t spend their lives making obscure, minimalist, ambient music. If Jkettle truly were a musically talented mad genius, then he’d probably make some pretty exciting music. Well, Jkettle is not a mad genius.

Still, Momentary Delights is an enjoyable album. The majority of the songs are driven by pounding basslines and snare hits. The whole time I listened to this CD, I thought to myself, “Wow, the bass sounds like Jah Wobble” of Public Image Ltd. Given that the album is built around samples, I thought perhaps Wobble was used somewhere, so I checked the liner notes. Imagine, then, my surprise when I saw that the bass was actually played by someone who calls himself “Jah Josh Kotner.”

This little anecdote nicely summarizes what inhibits Momentary Delights in general: a lack of originality. I actually did like this album, but it seemed I had heard everything on it somewhere else, from the aforementioned bass to the French vocals on “Le Tease M’Attise,” which just reminded me of the intro to Les Savy Fav’s 3/5.

So how do I convince you that Momentary Delights is a worthwhile listen, even though I’ve been pretty tepid so far? Here goes. Even though this record reeks of derivation, Jkettle gets his inspiration from credible influences, already strong in their own right, and manages not to mess it up. Screw Flanders.

Archived article by Ross McGowan