九 (Jiu) is the brainchild of up-and-coming drum & bass producer, Lee Davies(Wolves/UK). Davies has spent the past number of years touring as a drummer/multi-instrumentalist around China with Medic Records’ folk guitarist John Carroll (IRE), as well as his previous band, ‘The Charm Offensive’ based in Hangzhou, China. However, during the twilight hours he has been honing his craft as a producer under his elusive moniker, ‘The Jiffler’, while also interviewing and writing about bands that are shaping China’s growing music circles. Hangzhou’s culture magazine has since been making pivotal changes in penetrating the artistic subcultures that are often denied anything more than a recreational affiliation.
On his return to the UK in 2014, he’s been working with longtime pals and producers from Wolfgang records, a new label based in England, he’s also had a brief stint in Europe and has just released a collection of dnb EP’s, one of which, ‘Ghosts’ is a cinematic and ethereal groove with brooding string and piano arrangements by Thomas Newman. With ‘Ghosts’, as with their other recordings, Gatebreaker, Fly, and Release, Davies and Newman keep a fairly minimal approach in composition and don’t deviate much from the spine of the song. Layered piano’s delicately salt the trebles and express a light, airy and spirited touch, at times letting chords hang to allow a moments respite and breathing space for the resonating synths.
As with the Chinese aesthetic of the accompanying artwork, 九 (Jiu) occasionally brings sparse earthly elements to the canvas. Field-recordings of wildlife and countryside sounds summon a folkish organic antithesis that contrast nicely with the digital rhythms; equally benign in their attack, as with the similarly subdued textures that feature in his other EPs.
Overall, Ghosts is a quietly polished and hypnotic song, much more akin to an electronic/orchestral arrangement rather than the densely layered circus of samples and billowing echoes that I first expected. It also carries a lot more emphasis on drums than bass. Despite vocals, you’ll find pinches of Goldie’s, ‘Timeless’, and curiously close similarities to ‘Porcelain’ from Moby’s 1999 hit album ‘Play’. If you dig this kind of music it’s also worth checking out Mark System’s recent LP,’Final Approach’.
For more listens and info visit 九 (Jiu) online /// http://www.jiudnb.bandcamp.com