Written By: Fletcher Bonin
For many Americans, Canada has seemed like a pretty great place to move given recent changes within our country’s government. Jessy Lanza, a native of Ontario, just gave us one more reason. Lanza’s latest release Oh No is a three track album created with the help of fellow vocalist and producer Jeremy Greenspan. Her musical style is as unique as it is complex, and can only be accurately described as experimental house. Her vocal performance is remarkably controlled given its high tenor quality, edited and auto-tuned to the point of melodic perfection in time with the trippy, lucid beats that she also produces. The beats change according to different bass drops of varying degree throughout each song. They are creative and wondrous, sinking deeply and then becoming spritely and elevating into a higher realm. The release is experimental in that challenges mainstream perceptions of music. There is no unifying theme in any given song, no predictable bass drop or chorus to rely upon. Routine and predictability can be comforting, and yet I find myself enjoying Lanza’s music all the more because it is irregular and in many ways quite strange. To me, this is exactly what electronic music’s role should be: challenge the norm, provoke thought, push ever forward into the future of music as we enter a digital world.
To me, the album’s strongest, most interesting track was ‘Going Somewhere’. Like the others, this song featured a vast medley of beats and samples and drops and pitch changes and rhythm speeds. But unlike the others, rather than singing, Lanza makes the decision to speak over the track. She speaks the words “I love you…daddy will never let you wear this much makeup…I think it’s working…I just want to see how he literally beats my face…I don’t think it’s working…you guys look what Mario gave me?” These seemingly random and slightly eerie snippets of conversation are made eerier by the slow, bubbling accompaniment of tones in the background. This is where my fascination with Lanza’s music comes in. This is experimental house at it’s finest. The artistic decisions she makes are deliberate, and though perhaps her music is supposed to be meaningless to us, I like to think that our interpretation of the piece is a necessary and intriguing aspect to her music. Like abstract art, Lanza’s music will take a few listens to appreciate, but I promise you these seconds are not wasted.
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