Fear City by Jason Forrest


Jason Forrest | Fear City
On Jason Forrest‘s Fear City, his first record in seven long years, nothing is held back. Come to think of it this is likely true for his entire output since the earliest days as DJ donnasummer. Known for his incredibly edited cut-ups, think Christian Marclay, but much faster, much funkier. The man is devastating to capture live if you get the opportunity. This is abstract, futuristic party music. Before we dive deep here’s a taste of what to expect, in an exuberant animated fantasy disco video – it’s Subdivision from Markus X Fielder:

These eleven tracks, on average of 3-4 minutes a piece, kickstart with Severe High. Vocal treatments are smoothly edited into each other like notes on an organ with a pause and a funkified kronk assault. If People Like Us and 70’s Tangerine Dream had a baby and put it through a jazz/rock filter out comes this bombastic opener. Bright, brazen, fun.

Uncertainty closely follows harkening back to early Squarepusher with a broken and re-patched clanging hip-hop mashup. Incidental arcade riffs blend nicely with the extended percussive jam. Devo is surely a big influence here, but the unexpected like that on the lost Smooth Noodle Maps record. No pause for breath here, the isolation of funk is now.

Jason Forrest portrait

Then there’s Chase which sounds like a sleazy blaxploitation theme. Here more than ever I’d love to hear a collaboration from Forrest and say, Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) who mirror the inverse of each other’s worlds – it’s a challenge. This recalls the action-packed theme of the 70s television show Streets of San Francisco, yet it’s a vivid recycle. This artist always manages to jam so many references that pass by so quickly you literally get lost in music.

Biker Movies has the bassline of The Velvet Underground and the soul of Apple Computer in its palm. Holding tight this delivers the hutspah of an open highway adventure, with irresistible bluesy funk classic underpinnings, perfected by these unusual hollow clacks. The final minute offers a deconstructed motor over a somewhat momentary Gaelic interlude. Some call this breakcore, but Demon Sun Ram is a fresh jam with a Spanish Fly stuck in the sauce. Play that funky music white boy.



Forever Psyche is a revved-up hedonistic motor that blends awkwardly into the more cerebral post-rave Real HcCx whose destination is neither here nor there. But then comes the Run-DMC-like bassline on Beating Up Giants that trips over itself like a newborn. It’s clear the tripped chords are in place with purpose and a sudden precision with blips of the darkside of Depeche Mode, from nowhere harpsichord, modish bass, laser synths – it’s a psychedelic field trip back and forth in time. It’s a everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, pull out all the stops effort in terms of constructive composing. Wacky + worth it! Saving the best part for last, a short piano Prelude, why not! 😉


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