jjjacob is a relatively new name in the world of avant-garde club music but the Danish producer has made a strong impression on the scene in the last year with two transformative releases for labels & Options and ANBA respectively. jjjacob’s music is underscored by otherworldly emotional and cerebral qualities that reflect the inert, meditative state from which it was birthed. In June of 2017 jjjacob was unfortunately hit with a stroke, leaving half of his body paralyzed and his brain in a comatose state. Although traumatic, this incident yielded miraculous results.
Part of jjjacob’s rehabilitation involved producing music on his laptop while still at the hospital. The productions he created while bedridden would later become the “Intracerebral Hemmorhage” EP released last year on Toronto label & Options. You can hear jjjacob working through his condition on the release, particularly on tracks like “Reverie” or “Amelioration” which begin with placid, ambient soundscapes that mutate into vigorous breakbeat rhythms. One can imagine how these tracks served as a vehicle for jjjacob to escape the confines of his hospital bed.
Those who have experienced a debilitating condition, whether it be a stroke, concussion, physical injury, chronic or mental illness, will undoubtedly be able to relate to jjjacob and feel the catharsis in his music. Often, when we wish we could leave our bodies and the suffering that comes with them, we turn to music. With music, we can feel ethereal, ensouled even. It can elevate consciousness beyond the fleshly, material world. Music is a great tool of healing, both spiritual and physical.
“Being able to create my own sonic world of feelings and thoughts (while not being able to walk or socialize) was really a unique and overwhelming tool in my rehabilitation.”
Since creating and releasing “Intracerebral Hemmorhage,” jjjacob’s inspiration remains as strong as ever. In fact, he just released another EP entitled “Nondestructive Examination” through the sonic platform ANBA, founded by DJ/producers 1127 and Mang. jjjacob got the attention of ANBA after sending 1127 a sketch of his track “Cestoda.” 1127 liked the track so much he played it in a live set at a Boiler Room event. Shortly thereafter, “Nondestructive Examination” was released through ANBA, the first non-compilation release for the label. The EP finds jjjacob entering into the next phase of his recovery while exploring the nether-regions of electronic music.
Sonically, the EP moves between trance arpeggio gestures, cryptic ambient cloudscapes, club-banger clatter and UK-funky inflected electronica styles. While “Intracerebral Haemmorhage” felt like an exploration of internal constructions, jjjacob sets his gaze outward on “Nondestructive Examination,” escaping inertia through visions of the fantastic and unknown. jjjacob’s productions can sound futuristic at times but warm and animate at others. As he notes, “A lot of music that mixes natural and organic vibes with the sounds of mechanical and digital sources has an impact on me.”
This fusing of mechanics and abstraction places jjjacob within a movement of contemporary producers attempting to disassociate electronic music from connotations of spiritless, machine-driven monotony. Like many Internet-age artists, jjjacob is influenced by a vast array of genres, spanning everything from “ambient to techno to baile funk to R&B.” To be fair, he does name-check a few lynchpins of the electronic music world as core influences, namely, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Oneohtrix Point Never and Burial.
Currently, jjjacob’s future is gleaming with potential. He has made a full recovery from the stroke and has begun performing live in his native Denmark. He looks to continue making music and collaborating with new artists and collectives, such as Staycore, W-I, THRDEYEVSN, The Astral Plane, Genome 6.66 Mbp, and TAR, all labels he has great admiration for.
jjjacob’s open-mindedness, curiosity and resilience can be heard in the free-flowing beauty of his work. His music has a poetic quality that takes on even more significance after hearing his story. Without words or lyrics, jjjacob’s music conveys a personal (and universal) narrative of pain and struggle that ultimately leads to a catharsis and prevailing of the self. He believes all music to be poetic at its core, just not in the verbal, lyrical form that we tend to associate with poetry:
“I agree with researchers who claim that language derives from music, and not the other way around, meaning music must be the basis of poetry”
If that is the case, jjjacob is a post-modern poet, penning odes and laments with VST’s and sample packs. If you listen closesly, the intuitive feeling that inspired the Romantics of olde can be heard in jjjacob’s productions. Pure expression.
Stream “Nondestructive Examination” on Spotify here.
Featured photo by Mariliis Kundla.