Jaytech – Multiverse

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From the opening track, Everglade, it is clear that Jaytech is on a mission with his long-anticipated follow-up to 2008’s Everything Is OK. It is his signature sound – all acid swooshes, chopped up Serenade vocal, and bouncy groove, but with added guarana. Pitched up and engineered for a big space, it is a welcome step forward, bridging the gap between Anjunadeep and Anjunabeats. Jaytech gives a knowing wink to Mylo and Prydz with a rework of tried and tested piano house anthem New Vibe, while the sparkling beauty of Rabbit Raiders rounds off a stellar opening paragraph.

Labour of Love is the first of two male vocal tracks featuring Nathan Grainger. The vocal is heavily tuned and the lyrics are pretty ordinary which detracts from a decent groove. It’s the same story with Innovation which provides the low point of the album – again the lyrics are, for want of a better word, shithouse.

The whole exercise gives me the impression that James is trying to give the main room what they want while sacrificing some of his hard-earned integrity. Hitting the sweet spot of the main room is a worthy aim, but I’m not sure the artist album is the best forum. Thankfully, the gorgeous Epsilon is sandwiched between these two. One of the standouts, this one has a wonderful bounce and building keys. Dancefloors will be destroyed.

The second half of the album is where the gold lies. As Through the Maze floats dreamily past, Diode comes in hard and fast. An exquisite enveloping bassline holds a perfect equilibrium between warmth and depth. An absolute killer, I could listen to this all day.

It all goes a bit Sander van Doorn on Dr Device, complete with gorgeous melodic progression into the drop and thick rasp. Great remix potential for any number of the Anjunabeats stable right here.

We’ve all heard Stranger a hundred times by now, and it’s sure to be divisive. For me, it’s another male vocal that I’m not buying. Sure, it is beautifully engineered, the piano line is great and all, but it’s a Big Sky moment – I’ll be there hands aloft when A&B drop it in their arena tour, but I’ll always skip it on my playlist at home. It could sit comfortably on A&B’s Group Therapy, but I’m not sure that is a compliment. Give me the turbo-charged Kyau & Albert remix if it is mandatory I guess. If anything, at least commercially, it gives Jaytech a track he can hang his hat on.

Jaytech nails it on the title track as all the elements of Jaytech 2.0 come together in perfect synergy. A groovy, driving number, Multiverse layers a looped vocal sample with a deliciously languid breakdown to achieve a wonderful balance between warmth and depth.

As the album heads towards the exit, there is a poignant tribute to the late Melody Gough as Jaytech engineers an Ocanlab style track beneath her affecting vocal. A beautiful starry Spanish guitar leads into a breakbeat track which is continued into the twinkling, pensive Coda to round off the effort.

Multiverse is an interesting one. After my third listen, I started to love it – maybe not as much as Everything is OK, but there are some very special moments. The male vocal tracks kill it for me in parts, but three-quarters of the album is killer, and when you break the tracks that let it down into pieces, it is easy to see that they could be smartened up by marginalising or cutting up the refrain.

Jaytech is on a worthy mission and while I’m not sure he’s there yet, this is a pretty decent step in the right direction.

Multiverse is out now on Anjunabeats.