Release Date: May 13, 2016
Record label: Brainfeeder
Genre(s): Electronic, Rap, Jazz, Experimental Electronic, Left-Field Hip-Hop, Jazz-Rap
Brainfeeder Records has always been on the cutting edge of experimental, post-modern jazz. Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma is a modern classic, Thundercat’s The Golden Age of Apocalypse has some of the best bass playing of this decade, and Kamasi Washington’s The Epic is a three-hour smorgasbord of juicy jazz fusion tracks that everyone should sink their teeth into. Because of these aforementioned albums and the great features that these musicians have on other artists’ work, it’s tough getting onto the label in the first place, let alone releasing an album that can stand alongside this star-studded collection of records.
For many, the expressionistic portrait of Mitchel Van Dinther on the cover of Fool, his debut album as Jameszoo, will be their first introduction to the young Dutch producer. It's an appropriate first impression: the painting's off-kilter swirls of bright colour are representative of Jameszoo's vibrant and twisted sound world. The portrait somewhat resembles those Vincent van Gogh did of himself, and while it might be a stretch to compare Jameszoo to that particular Dutch genius, certainly he possesses the same kind of luminous, original vision.
Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label continues to spotlight the evolution of modern jazz with the first album by Holland’s Mitchel Van Dinther who, after emerging as a panoramically-expansive experimental DJ, released two singles on Amsterdam’s Kindred Spirits imprint, followed by two EPs on Rwina. During its inception, this first album grew from earthly electronica into a startling work of reflective soul-searching and homage, after his creative muse was electrified by albums by veteran US jazz vocalist-pianist Steve Kuhn (who he recorded with in New York on a remake of the latter’s Pearlie’s Swine, resulting in Bitches Brew-recalling starburst The Zoo) and Brazilian composer-guitarist Arthur Verocal, who he jammed with in Holland, along with singer Carlos Dafe, to make unearthly space-jazz beauty Flu. Elsewhere, an array of European jazz musicians join Van Dinther’s personal odyssey; igniting the mournful, fragile swarm of Lose, broken hip-hop jazz on Soup, then rearing like a Sun Ra space blast on Meat.
Mitchel Van Dinther calls the music of his debut album "naive computer jazz." He uses "naive" in the antique sense, from the Latin "nativus," which describes the childlike openness that leads to truly imaginative art. By "computer jazz" he doesn't just mean jazz spiced up with digital instruments, but some deeper synthesis of an experimental jazz method and the mindset of an electronic producer. Featuring a host of accompanying musicians, the Dutch artist's 11-track album as Jameszoo, Fool, blurs the line between a band's studio record and a solo electronic project.
On his debut full-length, Fool, unclassifiable Dutch producer Jameszoo (Mitchel van Dinther) embraces naïveté, ignoring boundaries and resisting musical conventions in favor of following his own creative impulses. The album is a playful amalgamation of influences ranging from outer-space jazz-funk to Brazilian rhythms, painstakingly crafted to sound spontaneous and unpredictable. While Jameszoo's previous EPs offered a wonderfully broken, loose perspective on abstract beatmaking, Fool incorporates more live instrumentation than his prior works, showcasing van Dinther's progress as a composer and bandleader.
In experimental music, a lack of formal training is usually less a liability than a badge of honor. Not knowing exactly what you're doing, or claiming you don't, opens up new worlds of possibility, whether you are John Cage studiously applying thumbtacks to piano strings or George Crumb dipping cymbals in water. Dutch artist Jameszoo, aka Mitchel Van Dinther, calls his debut album Fool a collection of “naive, computer jazz," but while he may be untrained as a performer of jazz, he’s no naif as an artist, establishing himself clearly in the tradition of creative, mischievous tinkerers who sometimes hide behind the tag of “naive” as a means of avoiding heavier scrutiny.
With Fool, the Netherlands’ Mitchel Van Dinther (aka Jameszoo) is challenging the programming of the everyday. “I tried to create something that is both tradition and me fooling around,” explains Van Dinther of his debut full-length effort. Fool is an amorphous 11-track affair that sees the producer dipping into a naïve, infantile consciousness.