Audio Mixers: Vincent Helbers; Mitchel van Dinther.
Recording information: Fletbohn; Flowriders Studio; Red Bull Studios, NYC; The Wipe Out Factory.
On his debut full-length, Fool, unclassifiable Dutch producer Jameszoo (Mitchel van Dinther) embraces naïveté, ignoring boundaries and resisting musical conventions in favor of following his own creative impulses. The album is a playful amalgamation of influences ranging from outer-space jazz-funk to Brazilian rhythms, painstakingly crafted to sound spontaneous and unpredictable. While Jameszoo's previous EPs offered a wonderfully broken, loose perspective on abstract beatmaking, Fool incorporates more live instrumentation than his prior works, showcasing van Dinther's progress as a composer and bandleader. Brainfeeder regular Thundercat contributes bass, and the cast of musicians also includes freewheeling drummers Julian Sartorius and Richard Spaven as well as Amsterdam-based American free jazz saxophonist John Dikeman. In some ways, the album has a sparse, impressionistic feel; he doesn't always fill out the canvas with sound, instead focusing on a few quirky sounds or ideas at a time. Squirming, whistling synths will collide with contemplative piano chords, and at any given moment the skeletal rhythm could break down and transform into something else. It takes a few listens for the album to really make sense, but it eventually reveals itself to be highly thoughtful, original, and creative. On two tracks, van Dinther is joined by veteran artists who heavily inspired his own work. Brazilian folk-jazz visionary Arthur Verocai contributes to the easygoing "Flu," which features samba guitar, funky wisps of violin, and lively keyboard splashes, ending with nimble waves of crashing drums. "The Zoo" is a reworking of Steve Kuhn's "Pearlie's Swine," with the composer re-creating the silly, absurdist vocals and dynamic keyboard playing of the 1971 original, accompanied by clattering percussion and loads of spacy delay. The wild, exciting "Crumble" is another highlight, with a speedy electro-jazz rhythm recalling Jaga Jazzist and complex keyboard arrangements. The song seems to be a brief but inspired burst of energy, as it breaks down after nearly two minutes for a strange distorted horn solo before suddenly ending. Fool is the type of album that defies logic, moving from discordant moments to heartfelt melodies to whimsical, childlike glee within the span of minutes. It's not easy to grasp at first, but it reveals van Dinther as a restless creative spirit, and seems to only hint at the directions his artistic career could take in the future. ~ Paul Simpson