Jazzuelle – NEO
South African DJ and producer Jazzuelle has been making waves internationally, and for good reason. Since the start of his career, he’s had the eyes of global tastemakers on him, supported by legendary labels like Get Physical and gracing the stages of major festivals like Sonar. This wide reaching appeal can be traced back to his music. Citing the likes of Brian Eno and Cinematic Orchestra as key inspirations, Jazzuelle’s sound is singular in its approach in the sphere of South African dance music and deep house. Sophisticated, considered, and alarmingly mature, Jazzuelle has shown time and again an uncanny ability to craft moments of emotional deftness with the power to keep you grooving.
On NEO, his latest album, he embraces this emotionality to deliver a collection of stunningly realised and richly moving deep and melodic house, decorated with touches of jazz and IDM. These influences can be heard on tracks like Come Back, with its looped arpeggios scattering like rainfall against a gentle house shuffle, paired with deeply romantic piano keys and a simple vocal refrain. Vertigo tumbles out carefully, sweeping you up in its layers of deep house percussion and squabbling bass. Jazzuelle also displays an affinity for pop production, handling vocals skilfully without ever sounding at odds with his elements and ideas. Something From Nothing blends subtly afro-infused baile funk with smooth jazz vocals from Jaidene Veda for a luxuriously easy listen, while opening track Me Ama cocoons itself around Kali Mija’s distinctive voice, with it’s softly spoken hooks and breathless quality.
Elsewhere, Yokohama plunges toward darker territory with a looped vocal phrase and skittish beats, Jazzuelle working in abyssal yet propulsive bass modulations. Ikumkani borrows from the rhythm of gqom, but washes its usual abrasiveness in a sort of languid haze that makes for something far more haunting. The application of his style to his influences is distinct. Jazzuelle fully understands his references, and in doing so applies his point of view to these ideas intelligently and with unwavering skill.
NEO is a gorgeously crafted album from a producer at the top of his game. While its ideas aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, they don’t have to be. Jazzuelle produces quality, impeccably realised deep house that flexes both his technical prowess and uncompromising taste, arriving at blissed out escapism at its best. This is the sort of album to get lost in from start to finish. NEO allows you to surrender yourself to its depths, unwind your mind, and explore the multilayered dimension that Jazzuelle has dreamt up.
Watch the music video for Something From Nothing from NEO below.