Review: Jex Opolis’ Plunge Into Retro New-Wave Bliss In ‘Net Worth’

Jex Opolis | Net Worth | Good Timin’

In recent times, the hyperspeed time-machine back to the 80’s and early 90’s has become a prominent influence in contemporary electronic music, with new-wave, synth-pop, post-punk and even early 90’s Italo and house dominating in a beautiful nostalgic whirlwind. While this type of dive into the past can find itself lost in a sea of similarly crafted records, when fashioned just right, and with that modern, personal twist – we find ourselves with records that remind us of the sheer charm and influence of our musical past.

For Canadian DJ & producer Jered Stuffco, known under his moniker Jex Opolis – the glimmering nostalgia of his second album ‘Net Worth’ saw the artist switch off from the commotion of daily media and douse himself in his favourite records by Depeche Mode and New Order; the influence is clear, yet Stuffco’s own personality within this shimmering nostalgia is one of those records referenced in the former paragraph – imbued with the retro charm of our past, but with the luminous vibrancy of our present. Within ‘Net Worth’, the deeply intimate aspect of Stuffco’s personal life stands out with its tender melodies, the progression of the album almost mimicking the journey Stuffco has been on throughout the years; transformation, exploration, relationships and just, life, in general – a focus on the past, crafted into a new (and often daunting) future.

The dark, digital drizzle of cyber droplets open ‘The Love Photography‘ – cradling the empty vacuum of midnight darkness, a space-travel isolation driven in a haunting blindness; the steady engine beat pulsing in caution, a technological oblivion. The loving retro feel seeps through video-game timbres and embraces listeners with 80’s palm-tree, “vapourware” bliss: the candy-coated vintage synthesizer feel reminiscient of Stuffco’s love for Depeche Mode – however, without sounding too similar – a lively contemporary dance. Stuffco’s bittersweet lyrics and distant, harmonious vocals occupy the dance-floor with the aura of gothic love-ballads of post-punk’s past – an upbeat melancholia, energy shaped by playful electronic timbres in an intricately woven blend of nostalgic genres.

The oscillating laser-beam synths opening ‘Dark Power‘ imbue the introduction with an electronic alien intensity; the percussive segue a fluid, rhythmic and entrancing progression as the blossoming atmosphere morphs into the steady, signature 80’s beat – a vibrant obscurity, lively and distinct. The descending whirls of robotic accents delve into tender harmonies, saccharine, melodious synths chattering in an otherworldly language. The mechanical march of textural electronics clutch an ethereal force, as the waxing and waning of atmospheric synths shape an hypnotic, trance-like aura. The album artwork springs to mind when listening to ‘Dark Power‘, a carefully constructed, esoteric kaleidoscope of mood and genre: the enigmatic feel buoyant and hypnotic, but with a bewitching darkness sleeping within the belly of each track.

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Rating: 7 / 10

Feature Image: Jex Opolis via Bandcamp (artist credit not found)