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Jason Priest - Jason Priest Is Missing (2021) - Review

Band: Jason Priest
Album title: Jason Priest Is Missing
Release date: 11 June 2021
Label: Midnight Mannequin Records
Genre: Synthwave

Tracklist:
01. When The Clown Cries
02. Be Thankful, Billy
03. Robes
04. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants
05. Gone Upstairs
06. The Power
07. March 25th
08. Dead Again

To be honest, just as I fell head over heels in love with synth-wave somewhere a bit less than a decade ago, when it gained its recognition, I also fell out of love quickly. The passion was immense and real, and I was electrified to be discovering so many new artists, who combined the raw atmosphere of my favourite film genres – horror and science fiction - with the vintage-sounding synthpop vibe. But over time, I lost interest in it, mainly because I did not find the thrill in it; it all seemed too repetitive, the atmosphere failed to engulf me, so I kept coming back to the same old sounds I was used to. And now Jason Priest crossed my path with his debut, somehow hauntingly entitled Jason Priest Is Missing, and I fell in love again.

While Jason Priest is quite a new name in the music scene, releasing two EPs,  King-Kill/33° in 2018 and Nightmare Boy in 2019 under this moniker, the man behind the alter-ego - Antoni Maiovvi (real name Anton Maiof) - is most certainly not. A renowned composer and multi-instrumentalist comes from the UK and has quite an impressive collection of works to display; before becoming Jason Priest, he was a part of different musical ensembles, musically varying from noise rock, folk, country to noise music. Not only that, but Maiovvi is also a composer behind the film music scores of various films and has also released an imagined film score entitled 'Cuckoo'.

With Jason Priest being born, the sound on the debut album is deeply rooted in the sound of the 80s. The overall atmosphere of the album carries the suffocating vibe of good old post-punk as it meets the flamboyant musical persona of Depeche Mode - somewhere along the road - and is extended into the universe of cinematic music. The luscious blend of the simplicity of post-punk with the danceable features synthpop and vintage feel behind the production and mixing are colliding into a massive, mesmerizing ambient, which radiates through every track on this album. What makes it so appealing is that all songs are connecting into one seemingly endless soundscape: transcendental, alluring and passionate. It can make you feel all summery and at ease, for example on tracks "Robes" and "25 March", but at the same time, it is kind of intense and holding you by the throat, as you found yourself in a nightmare, most vividly portrayed in a dazzling and obscure track "Dead Again" and suspenseful "The Power". What I am missing the most on this album is to have a song or two standing out, being stuck in your mind, delivering the passion for listening to it repeatedly, because this is what usually synth-wave does for me. But as said before – the album's stellar feature is the steady connection of tracks, being inherent into one sonic world.

While the sound on the album is minimalistic, it brings so much out of its simplicity – the samplings are done prudently and with great precision and authenticity. The blending of elements is done with paying close attention to details, which makes it sound so effortless. An important aspect is also the vocal work, which adds another sphere to the already astonishing atmosphere in the sound, as it is incandescent, yet horror-esque and eerie at the same time. Jason Priest Is Missing is more than a solid debut album; every lover of the 80s retro vibe should find enjoyment in it.

The review was written by Ines
Rating: 8/10

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