Saturday, May 30, 2020
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Mikkel Meyer: Jolly

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Artist: Mikkel Meyer (@)
Title: Jolly
Format: 12"
Label: Rump Recordings (@)
This EP consists largely of bright acid dance productions, with all but the remix utilising consistently similar instrument patches. The music is openly influenced by the untroubled summers of Meyer's youth in the 1980s, in particular the halcyon beach settings depicted in the marketing of the Jolly cola brand (whence the title). However, while it's his chief point of reference Meyer isn't altogether reproducing the music of that era. The overall tone and production are contemporary. The acid bass is controlled and innocuous, but certainly more sophisticated than most of what was being made at the time. Melodic influences also range from outside the 80s, incorporating progressions found in the work of "various new/freak/lo-fi/indie folk artists" (press release). Altogether, the result is a tasteful mixture of styles, with the stated subject matter coming across as increasingly textual.

In fact, the only track that I think directly and unequivocally evokes the 80s/Jolly topic is the Beastie Respond remix. In particular, the bass regresses unapologetically from deft acid to sheer synthetic slap. Further cementing the theme are the likes of canned chanting, sampled police siren and a lush, studied synth bell melody. Though less adventurous, this is the catchiest and most floor-friendly number on offer here. It seems to represent and anchor the original reference point, tapping straight into those Jolly beaches and gaudy nightclubs. We are then in no doubt as to where Meyer has come from and how he has combined this particular influence with others.

The first two Meyer originals ('Oh, Jolly Good', 'John Wayne') are gentle plodders, rather slow for the floor, mainly built around gradually shifting bass envelopes. Both are warm and elegant, particularly the latter. To boot, it has an impressively restrained video, panning close-up across the circuitry and control surfaces of analogue equipment. The two remaining originals ('Rosie', 'Clap Your Hands') bump up the pace and introduce wordless, mostly textural vocals. 'Clap Your Hands' is the more successful of these two, with a low pass on the giddy bass that suggests the haze of intoxication, or approaching exhaustion.