Electronic music is an ever-expanding genre, forever adopting different experimental styles and concepts for the creation of groundbreaking sounds, and Klasey Jones’ music is like no other. The genre doesn’t fall victim to the idiomatic “out with the old, in with the new” mentality that other genres tend to embody; rather, electronic music pays constant homage to genres and styles of the past.
Though, for the most part, new electronic subgenres stem from the dissection of older electronic subgenres, some artists have moved beyond this formulaic approach to re-energize some of the world’s most popular eras of music. As one of the newest rising artists in the electronic scene, London’s own Klasey Jones is doing exactly that with his unique take on wave, one of the fastest-growing genres in the U.K.
Wave is a bass-heavy form of dance music unlike any other. Considering it contains elements found in other popular subgenres, like witch house, grime, trance, dubstep and even trap, wave can be pretty difficult to define. Imagine the slow and heavy rhythm of a trap beat and a euphoric trance synth intertwined with the halftime progression of dubstep, then peppered with the wonky and experimental style that is grime.
This might seem like a lot to handle in one subgenre, yet world-renowned DJs, like Plastician, have taken wave away from its internet-based origins and found a place for it in their live performances.
Klasey Jones takes the experimental and avant-garde characteristics of wave and amplifies them. His music still has the electronic melting-pot feel that makes wave so revolutionary, but he takes it a step further by also including elements of pop, hip-hop, R&B and synth-pop into his music. The result is an eclectic, multidimensional subset of electronic music.
Klasey Jones was signed to Plasitican’s music label, Terrorhythm, in 2017, giving the artist the perfect platform for his groundbreaking style. At the time, wave was a new subgenre made by and for young producers. The community existed purely through music sharing apps, like Soundcloud, making it difficult for wave to truly take off.
The signing of Klasey Jones to Terrorhythm sparked a pivotal moment for the subgenre, and his first release, an EP called “Foreign Buyers Club,” solidified wave’s position in the U.K. for years to come.
Fast forward to today, and the artist has added an 11-track album, three EPs and several singles to his ever-growing discography. He also has a side project called Knight Sabers, through which he has already released two EPs. Each of his projects incorporates art by Mizucat, an artist whose style resembles that of ’90s Japanese anime, which further enhances the eclecticism of Jones’ music.
Though his latest release, “Arrival,” is already his third project of 2019, it certainly shows no signs of the artist slowing down. Rather, Jones seems to be further perfecting his craft with each new release.
“Arrival,” perhaps more than any other project he has released so far, blends the futuristic feel of modern electronic with more nostalgic and retro music elements to create something fresh. The EP has five tracks in total, plus a minute-long intro track made to set the mood for a spacey exploration of sound.
The first song to appear on “Arrival” is “Brentwood Affair,” which immediately captures listeners’ attention with a light and melodic synth. The synth soon collides with slow, choppy percussion to produce a beat that is perfect for a midnight drive, which is fitting, considering the album art.
Deep, minimal bass tones seem to be Klasey Jones’ specialty, and they soon become the undercurrent for the R&B quality of “Brentwood Affair.” A quiet, almost stifled vocal sample sits atop the deep 808 bass, and, though it’s difficult to decipher the lyrics, the voice’s melancholy aura perfectly captures the alluring sorrow of ’90s R&B.
Thus, “Brentwood Affair” takes shape as a hi-tech, space-infused remodel of the classic R&B style that the world fell in love with decades ago. Jones pays great homage to the genre, using wave as a stepping stone for developing R&B into something new and extraordinary.
The next track on “Arrival,” “You Are The Reason” featuring Devon Wright, is a pivotal moment for the young producer — it marks the first time Klasey Jones has broadened his style to include a vocal feature, which is wonderfully performed by underground singer Devon Wright.
Wright delivers a chilling chorus over the futuristic sound that sends listeners back in time to the New Romantic and synth-pop era of the late ’70s and early ’80s. The era first became popularized in the U.K. through artists like David Bowie, Gary Numan, Germany’s Kraftwerk and many others who combined passionate lyrics with polyphonic synths.
The powerhouse duo of Klasey Jones and Devon Wright clearly brought a similar energy to the studio when recording “You Are The Reason,” and the diverse producer’s gamble succeeds with a remarkable tribute to one of the U.K.’s most appreciated eras.
On “Rearrange” featuring Iman, Klasey Jones once again adopts elements from R&B and applies them to his signature science fiction sound. “Rearrange” is another rare collaboration between the producer and a vocalist, and, this time, it’s Manchester singer Iman who has the opportunity to bless the mic.
Iman is starting to make a name for herself as one of the U.K.’s best R&B singers, especially through her covers of songs by popular artists like Jason Derulo and Ed Sheeran. Iman’s sultry, desolate voice merges with Klasey Jones’ heavy bass tones and emotional synths to create a slow jam that feels like it came straight from the year 2030.
Jones’ ability to blend the expansive qualities of wave with slow R&B vocals is an impressive balancing act, especially for such a young producer. The gambit pays off for the artist as he finds yet another way to expand his signature style to appeal to a wider audience.