London-based keyboardist and overall amazingly talented musician Joe Armon-Jones has released his highly anticipated follow-up to his excellent 2018 album Starting Today. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Joe is one of the most exhilarating live performers I’ve ever seen, and on record he brings eclectic compositions that feel raw and emphatic.
Turn To Clear View is a album that focuses much more on smooth, subtle textures and nuances that differ from the frantic energy he brought on Starting Today. Turn To Clear View sounds moodier, more introspective in tone, with subtle, gentle synths and guitar arpeggios complementing Joe’s soft and gorgeous keyboard wizardry. His previous project was more of an extroverted release, with intense, dense compositions that were much more geared to the dancefloor, with examples being “Starting Today,” “London’s Face” and “Ragify.” I don’t really get that from this project, and I think I might prefer it as a result of it’s gentle nature.
“Try Walk With Me” kicks the album off with electronic synths and effects that pave way for a mystic piano composition, complemented by groovy basslines and subtle drumming. Asheber’s gorgeous and emotive vocal performance on this record makes it a beautiful and reflective listen. “Yellow Dandelion” with Georgia Anne Muldrow is one of the more upbeat, dance-oriented track, with higher tempo drumming and horn sections that sound emphatic. Oh yeah, not to forget Georgia’s stunning vocals, which are just phenomenal. “(To) Know Where You’re Coming From” is the other more intense composition, with incredible saxophone leads and higher tempo drumming that perfectly complement the subtle but poignant keys throughout. “Gnawa Sweet” is a wonderfully composed track, with excellent horn sections and groovy basslines that complement the drumming, keys and ethereal synths throughout. As for “Icy Roads (Stacked),” well, we know how great that song is. The reflective “The Leo & Acquarius” is gorgeous, with a reflectlive, upbeat verse from Jehst and a change in tempo throughout to accommodate his presence. “You Didn’t Care” with Nubya Garcia is special, with both complementing each other brilliantly on this vibrant and exquisite record, as the stunning key arrangements and Nubya’s tremendous saxophone playing bring the best in each other, with a gorgeous, ethereal outro that leads into “Self: Love,” another vibrant and soulful record, with Obongjayar’s soulful, sublime vocals adding this incredible tone and energy to the record. The way it breaks down into the phenomenal keyboard breakdown, with electronic quirks and synths complementing the ethereal tone to the track. While I did love Starting Today, there’s something about the vibe and the aura of Turn To Clear View that I feel like I can relate to a lot more. It’s more of a meditative, groovy and ethereal release, and that to me is really dope. I’d love to see Joe continue experimenting further and maybe pushing even beyond creating jazz music, as he’s got so much potential to create something that truly defies genre and sounds like nothing we’ve ever heard before.
But yeah, this is a tremendous body of work and I commend and thank Joe Armon-Jones for contributing to music in general. I’m really excited for you, and wish you nothing but more success and opportunity in the future. Bless.
Listen to Joe Armon-Jones’ brand new album Turn To Clear View below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via Brownswood Recordings.