Is Jazz-Techno Really The Future?
Thoughts about Jazz-O-Tech and coming days
Profet's Ronni Arturo looses himself in endless cosmic ponders as he questions the future when listening to Jazz-O-Tech's newest release, Flat Maze's »Dick Dunker«.
What is the future? What is jazz? What is techno? Does the future lay in the combination of two already established formats? How many roads must a man walk down…?
Listed above are five equally puzzling questions, that all have troubled mankind and their kin since the dawn of time. Some of them are simpler for us to answer, and yet we don’t see the heavenly connection between them. By solving the first ponder you may encrypt the last, and through deciphering the second and third you have a strong chance of demystifying the fourth, hence unveiling the first again and so also the last once more, all in a revolving cosmic revelation of spiritual knowledge passing through the realms of your narrow mind hole.
Working splendidly as the utmost springboard for a supreme discussion of these delicate matters is German/Italian label Jazz-O-Tech, and furthermore also one of their recording groups Flat Maze (a proper name for a band of their standards) and their latest release »Dick Dunker EP«. The record label was founded on definite premises, here cited presumably by the founders themselves:
Jazz-o-Tech is born in order to merge tradition with modernity, improvisation and experimentation, and to create a new style: Techno-Jazz. Finally the elegant arrangements and intricate jazz solos can develop along the modern structures of Techno and Electronica, taking the listeners on an emotional, hypnotic and intense journey, making us think that the future is not that far away.
Big words coming from a small scale record label, which we here at Profet would support until each of our deaths. Small scales deserve big words. Do we agree, though? That is of less importance, since we after all have been fed with the acclaimed words of Voltaire and made to believe them as the sovereign truth.
Back to the existential questions at hand: Does the future lay in the combination of two already established formats? If you’ve read this far without losing a single bit of your precious concentration, you are aware that this unsureness can be dissolved into clarity with the hasty unriddling of two others. What is Jazz? and What is Techno? Jazz, in its nature is meant to be daring, and is seen that way especially by its players. The genre is supposed to be open to new experiments, but has at some places along the line gotten stuck in a loop. Improvisation is, correctly, vital in Jazz and it grants the genre a fickle reputation within the made up minds of Jazz lovers globally. The excitement is found in the guarantee of surprise, the feeling of constantly turning new corners in a melody – which we as listeners seldomly get from a classic verse-chorus-verse-song. A guaranteed surprise is a paradox in itself, and it has relieved Jazz from a unique selling point and led the genre toward a regretful demise in general popularity.
Techno begun, just like Jazz, from a revolutionary state of mind in a powerful underground setting. One could say that there are experimental traits in its foundation, mostly because of how its founders tweaked sounds and forced them to become something new. The core of Techno though is a monotonous repetition of beats and electronic sounds, that in the hands of a skilled producer can be a dynamic experience.
Today, not unlike Jazz, Techno has lost its initial edge in the public eye. These two genres that both were groundbreaking and at first even considered dangerous have now been demoted to a calm mainstream acceptance. Some of the original material of both movements can even be played in elevators in fancy hotels where fancy people in fancy clothes dream away from their fancy lives for a couple of serene seconds.
Brought together, the free flow of Jazz and the repetitive force of Techno elevates one another, although the pieces on Flat Maze’s »Dick Dunker« tend to balance over on the pure Techno side, with small strokes of Jazz piano highlighting the bigger picture. In one of Jazz-O-Tech’s previous releases, Cesare Dell’Anna’s »Modal Miles EP«, the genres are more smoothly mixed together into a meeting halfway, especially on »Tax Free – Sammartino Doc«.
The big question, the biggest one asked in this article, remains unanswered at this point. Does the future lay in the combination of two already established formats? The short and painless answer is no. The long and painful answer is as follows:
Fusion genres are forced and unnatural in their essence. Thinking that bringing Jazz and Techno together would be a window to the future is just as ludicrous as believing Rap Metal would have lasted longer than a few years in the spotlight. Clashing influences can be interesting, but never futuristic. The only true step into the future is taken by hearing something you’ve never heard before, which is getting harder each day.
Saying this, I don’t intend to accuse »Dick Dunker« of being a waste of time, au contraire, it’s a terrific Techno record colored with a suitable musical technicality and a fine-tuned sense of melody. Jazz-O-Tech can be proud of their latest release, but can’t rely on it to foresee the days to come.