Published on October 30, 2013 | by Edwige Dubois0
Jackson & His Computerband★★★ • •
Album Launch: Glow
Jackson & His Computerband + Xavier de Rosnay (Justice) vs. D.V.N.O
The launch of Jackson & His Computerband’s long-awaited new album Glow took place on October 18 at the Village Underground, Shoreditch.
The French producer was a major influence in the development of the electro we know today, exploring the glitch-heavy facet of Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) in the late nineties.
Jackson & His Computerband is a pseudonym for Jackson Fourgeaud. The launch of Glow was quite a spectacle and the audience came to watch their adored artist living out his vision of having a ‘computer band’.
The crowd appeared different from that of his underground heyday. It was a mix of Europeans in their twenties, a few couples in their thirties who came for a date, and one very excited audience member who spent the evening jumping in front of the stage doing weird hand movements which looked like an ancient Chinese dance.
The supporting acts at the Village Underground were French artists Xavier de Rosnay (Justice) and D.V.N.O aka Mehdi Pinson.
Xavier faced a crowd that was not his own, but managed to warm them up skilfully by juggling electro and disco. D.V.N.O was by his side (slightly behind), walking around, or helping himself to a drink. He twiddled a knob once in while and was allowed to wear the headphones for three minutes, maximum.
Smoking behind the decks like a stereotypical Frenchman, Xavier’s gaze did not lift once to look at the crowd, who seemed to be in his contempt.
The music peaked, and was at once smothered as Jackson’s extravagant set-up was brought to life in an array of light and smoke. The crowd cheered and applauded – not for the end of a high-quality set, as was deserved – and rotated 90 degrees to face the stage.
Instead of being behind a computer screen as he used to be, Jackson was surrounded by his custom-made instruments on stage, creating a closer bond with his audience.
The show jumbled indie-dance with heart-racing heavy dub-step. The contrast induced by the brutal 180 beat per minute electronic track ‘Blood Bust’ being followed by ‘Memory’, a dreamy vocal-led ballad threw us into this sensational roller coaster.The Parisian artist’s fans might have expected Glow to be a bigger and better version of his first LP, paving the way for a different visionary path.
Instead, his new album is more structured and not as experimental, focusing less on the digital processes and more on the vocals. Jackson preferred to create a space where technological effects could happen in real-time.
Glow is still a rich, complex and cleverly constructed electronic album – pop/rock oriented, mixing French house with the IDM edge of his debut and dubstep samplings.
But I was divided on Jackson’s grand installation; it took up a large portion of the venue and was not in accordance with the space, forcing the venue to lower its capacity.
His custom-made instruments were original, built with great finesse and beautifully designed but the imposing mirrored circle was ostentatious and honestly looked as if it was made out of a cardboard box – don’t take the picture at face value.
I was more compelled by Jackson’s shadow on the brick wall, moving like a curious living thing. It felt like catching sight of a mad scientist experimenting in his attic.
Even if Jackson’s authenticity was lost in his new showman persona, he gave a captivating performance. The Parisian producer really embodied his new show and was very theatrical, continuously interacting with the crowd.
The instruments were stylish but too far from one another – I’m not convinced it helped the fluidity and continuity of the sound.
One question remains: was the show designed for the album, or the album designed for the show?