Jakob – Solace (2006)

Jakob  SolaceMy day job involves a lot of things, but the things I love most are where I get to put my earphones in, play some music, and get down to a good un-interrupted bout of research, writing or editing.

Over time I’ve found I prefer a few styles of music with each of those stages. Research and note-writing usually suits complex time signature, maybe proggy stuff. Bashing out the first draft of something goes easiest with something intense and rhythmic; maybe a bit of metalcore, or something propulsively electronic.

And for the editing, give me big, looming, post-rock. And when I’m really struggling to find a way through something, I’ll put on Solace, the 2006 album from Napier-based post-rock band, Jakob.

Solace seeps quietly in, with a repeating, reverb-laden guitar motif slowly building (the same motif that ended their previous album, Cale:Drew), before the drums drip in over a throbbing bass. Steadily, inexorably this open track, ‘Malachite’, builds. Further guitars are layered, subtly, adding texture and colour, hinting at vast vistas of sound that soon arrive as the melody changes to a jangling chord progression, waves of delay sweeping the shimmering guitar over a large sonic range.

It’s much the same throughout for the seven songs that make up this, their last album before going into a (reasonably recently ended) hiatus. Part of the pattern is that most tracks will fall into a lull, tumbling back to the opening motif before exploding into a massive wall of sound.

By the end of most tracks Jeff Boyle has opened up his chords and kicked down on quite a few pedals to lift his guitar sounds to a huge glittering slab of sound. Bassist Maurice Beckett’s adds a wall of distortion, and perhaps a few chords, to his sound, while Jason Johnston relaxes his often taut, coiled style to let the cymbals ring clear and long.

But if it’s a formula, it’s a massive sound that draws me in. Enthrals me and allows my mind to clear and soar, no matter what I’m doing. A sound I find uplifting, inspiring. Something that sends any distractions from my mind, leaving me with just this beautiful vista of noise allowing me to put nothing but the ideas and words I’m playing with front and centre.

When out walking Wellington listening to music, as I’m wont to do, I’m often scanning the skyline and clouds. I’m hoping for a play of light, the sun hitting a certain angle, a certain combination of hills, buildings and sky that speaks to enigmatic natural beauty.

That’s what this album sounds like, to me.

Solace

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Jakob have recently been back in the studio, recording (at last) their follow up to Solace. I really can’t wait; they’re a band who has never let me down yet.

Solace, and Jakob’s earlier albums, are all available from their bandcamp page.

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