The southern city of Memphis, TN has a very prestigious and well-documented place in the history of music. Often referred to as the home of blues, gospel and rock n’ roll, it’s one of the last areas you would expect to produce a progressive electropop group. So with that in mind, cheers to pleasant surprises and the joy that they bring. Jes, the debut album from Memphis-based quartet Fast Planet is a musical curveball from a famous place that launched the careers of such legends as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
In a time where the negative, abstract, post-dubstep sound has become so widely accepted and applauded as genius, Fast Planet serves as an ideal alternative for fans of acts like James Blake, Junior Boys, Thom Yorke, Postal Service and Tel Aviv, most of whom have had an influence on the band. But Jes offers more than just a simple synthpop sound. There is additional instrumentation that beautifully accompanies the use of programs like Ableton and Reason, and in talking with group member Landon Moore (production/keys/bass) he clearly defined the objective for this project in one simple sentence stating, “we didn’t want to do dubstep or house, we wanted to write an ambient electronic record that still revolved around songs as a cohesive unit.” Moore went on to share that the album’s completion was a long time in the making that involved a shuffle of members, the learning of different instruments, and a general desire to take their music in a new and unexplored direction. If this was meant to be some sort of experiment, it turned out pretty damn well.
The opening and closing tracks (“Hold Me Under” and “The Publicist”) serve as perfect bookends for what can be found at the heart of this album, so I’d start there if you’re looking for a quick synopsis of what to expect. This album is for the experimentalists. The dreamers. If music is your escape vehicle of choice, then Jes is your Ryan Gosling. It is your driver. We’ve shared a Bandcamp stream of the full album below. The group has also made it available for free download at their site, but only for a limited period, at which point it will then find a home in the vast digital landscape that is iTunes. Learn more about Fast Planet here.