Icicles/Sense are available at:
June 17th 2016
Alternative; Folk; Electro.; Rock
The album, Blood Red Sun, will be released later this year.
AFTER a (kind of brief) exploitation to Australian and American music…
it is back in my favourite place: London. I try and extricate myself from the city now and then: invariably; I am drawn back to the wonderful music. There is so much wonder, joy, and quality to be found in London. The music is not just confined to certain genres and ‘types’: there’s a smorgasbord and vast array of sounds and styles. Before I come to my featured artist, I wanted to look at the children of musical legends; the importance of traveling (conducive to adventurous music) and reinventing the Folk genre. Entering the music profession is a risky and unsure thing. If doesn’t matter what start you had in life; how wealthy you are: talent and determination are the most important, and underrated assets, you require. What fascinates me about new musicians is their background: especially those that herald from an artistic/musical background. You do not often encounter artists that hail from such creative and arty beginnings. With Jasmine Rodgers being a second-generation musician: I have been compelled to investigate other (children of musicians) examples. From Eliot Sumner- Sting’s daughter; formerly I Am Coco- there is inherent pressure to succeed and ‘prove yourself’. A lot of today’s artists go through music school or find their own path: something quite ‘traditional’ and ordinary. They will work hard and raise money to produce songs. It is always pleasing seeing genuinely great musicians make their way- regardless of their background. Those that have had that distinct musical education- well-known parents or a very musical family- have that edge and additional education. That is not to say- by proxy of their D.N.A.- they have an edge and will be naturally talented- they will have the experience and know a lot about the industry. Too many musicians get blind-sided by the harshness of the industry: what it takes to succeed and how challenging it can all be. Jasmine Rodgers is someone who knows what it takes to make it. Before I continue my point, let me introduce her to you:
Too many musicians get blind-sided by the harshness of the industry: what it takes to succeed and how challenging it can all be. Jasmine Rodgers is someone who knows what it takes to make it. Before I continue my point, let me introduce her to you:
“Born into an artistic family – her mother a Japanese poet, her father the legendary vocalist Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, Queen) – Jasmine Rodgers knew her way around both keyboard and fretboard before she even enrolled at secondary school. But given her love for art and zoology (in which she has a degree), music was initially a passionate pastime rather than a full-time pursuit. This changed when her older brother Steve, on hearing the ethereal beauty of Jasmine’s voice, asked her to sing with him and they formed the group Boa. Boa went on to record two albums, achieving renown in the Americas, France and Japan, after their single ‘Duvet’ featured in the anime series Serial Experiments Lain. The group disbanded in 2005, but Jasmine continued her association with the anime/manga genre, writing songs for the soundtrack of Armitage: Dual Matrix, which starred Juliette Lewis.
Jasmine continued rehearsing, writing and recording, releasing an EP of self-penned alt-folk nuggets and collaborating with artists including Indian classical musicians Mendi Mohinder Singh and Waqas Choudhary. She found inspiration for new material in the exploits of her travels (live performances led her from the Royal Albert Hall to the Venice Biennale and the Edinburgh Fringe). It was one such journey to the Joshua Tree desert in California that inspired Jasmine to capture the best of her material on a full-length album. She enlisted producer Sean Genockey (Tom McRae, Futureheads), whose experience working at Joshua Tree’s Rancho de la Luna studio made him ideal for bringing forth the material’s widescreen yet rootsy vibe. Blood Red Sun, to be released later in 2016, was recorded at Black Dog Studios in London and is the sound of an exceptional artist drawing deep from global musical experiences to craft a set of inventive, euphonious 21st-century folk”.
Rodgers has had that filmic and made-for-the-big-screen upbringing. Given the fact her father is one of the most respected vocalists of all-time: it is, perhaps, not a shock his daughter has such incredible pipes. Raised in that musical and astonishing household- where her mother’s art and father’s music would have spiked her young mind- it was only natural (Jasmine) would chase music. Given Paul Rodgers’ connection with Free and Bad Company- later, Queen- Jasmine seems to have been fated to music since her first day. After singing around the house- her brother noticing her fine talent- she was encouraged to pursue music and take it by the horns. Just because you have a musician parent- father in this case- does not mean that will translate naturally. I have seen a lot of examples where the child does not hit the peak of their parents: this is not the case with Jasmine Rodgers. Possessing the power, passion and rawness of her father; a sweetness and beauty that is all her own- an amazing and unforgettable tone.
I can tell how influential her father has been: her mother’s art and itinerant background has compelled Rodgers to travel the globe in search of inspiration and subject matter. Too many of us are rigid and tied to home- I am culpable of this- and do not explore what is out there. With such a big, compelling and astonishing planet out there: more of us need to get out there and see it. Rodgers’ wanderlust and lust for inspiration has seen her travel widely and absorb cultures. If you are stuck in a city/town- London, for instance- you are likely to be limited when it comes to imaginative songwriting. Even if you have a wide and varied musical taste: that is not to say your own music will be suitably eclectic and multifarious. Rodgers has taken it upon herself to engage with the wider world and see what other countries are producing (in terms of music). When you hear Jasmine Rodgers perform- and when you listen to her interviews- you get cross-continental blends and something truly exotic. Using Folk as a basis- but stretching it and breaking ground- many people might assume (Rodgers’ music) would be predictable and narrow. Folk is one of those areas of music that can be very mixed and average. That image of the acoustic guitar-holding singer- who performs songs about the natural world with little energy- pervades. Jasmine Rodgers is a lot more than your run-of-the-mill Folk act. She brings Rock and Electric shades into the mix: something harder and grittier; cosmopolitan and ethereal. Every song (she produces) covers new ground and brings together something fresh- guaranteed to enthrall and impress the listener.
Icicles and Sense are some of the earliest works from Jasmine Rodgers. Music has been pivotal for year: she is still so young and making her initial steps. If it were not for her family- and brother’s persistent she get into music- would our heroine be where she is now? I’d like to think so as you know art and music coarse through her veins. She is taking her time to craft music of the highest order: you can hear the detail, work-rate and attention in her songs. Given the reaction to Icicles– it has been lauded and promoted by D.J.s and bloggers- there is a demand for more music. Sense and Icicles are two tracks that have a familial connection: they are natural album-mates and it will be great to see them alongside one another. It is at this point of a review that I look at an artist’s progress and development- see how far they have come; compare their new stuff to the older. Jasmine Rodgers is making her first moves- making it difficult to make comparisons- but her new songs are incredible. Intimate and open- like being in the wide expanse of nature- there is etherealness and passion in every note. Blood Red Sun is unveiled soon- Icicles is going to feature- and it will be a chance to see the musician in her element: stretching her talent and showing the world just what she has at her disposal.
Icicles begins with a very gentle and springtime feel. You hear the natural world breathe: the wind blows and you can feel the sun on your face. When our heroine comes to the microphone: you are instantly hit by the power and immediacy of her voice. It is so clear and crisp in the mix- right up-top and with stunning clarity. Backed by tender strings- a balletic, gently-picked guitar sound- there is sparseness and bare-naked purity from the first notes. Looking across the land and water: Rodgers lets her soul fly; she is sending it to a particular person. Whether a current love- or someone that is an important piece of her past- there is that desire and love in the vocal. So calm and reflective: you can get lost in the voice and its serenity; the tranquility smoothness and delicious, chocolate-like sweetness. Whomever is being sung about: clearly someone that means a great deal to our heroine. Having been lost “for such a long time”: with the intensity of the mood; the composition becomes darker and more tense. Mystical and dark-hued bass notes conspire: Celtic, Anglo and Middle-East sounds melt into something delicate and pure. Our girl will be flying “ever-so-high”; she will be making her way across the land- in order to hold her man. Part of me tried to pick the lyrics apart and see what inspired them. I instantly jumped onto themes of love and departed sweethearts- there seems to be more to it. Whilst deeply personal and heart-aching: I feel Rodgers has lost a lot more; is chasing more than a particular person; longing for something deeper and more profound. When combining her vocals- layering them and adding an urgency to proceedings- the emotions stake up and the fascination rises. “
I instantly jumped onto themes of love and departed sweethearts- there seems to be more to it. Whilst deeply personal and heart-aching: I feel Rodgers has lost a lot more; is chasing more than a particular person; longing for something deeper and more profound. When combining her vocals- layering them and adding an urgency to proceedings- the emotions stake up and the fascination rises. “How sweet to find”, it is said, “the meeting of minds”. You start to wonder what that refers to- taking me away from realms of love- and your imagination starts to spark. Chasing dreams and climbing mountains: if she is after a man; he must be someone rather special and wonderful. That obliqueness and mystery means Icicles is a song that needs repeated plays. You are affected the debut spin: new light and dimensions feed in when you give it more time and dedication. Our heroine’s heart is haunted and in need of satisfaction. When she finds her subject- whether lover or friend- icicles will melt. Such is the magnitude and importance of that connection: the climate will change and the world will move. You never get the feeling of hyperbole and over-exaggeration. Rodgers is not someone who employs ululation and needless over-emotion: everything she sings is performed with honesty. By the closing seconds, you are entranced by the images and lyrics. Waters are swelling and rising; snow is melting and everything is changing. Without a kiss being delivered; before a word is spoken: such a heavenly and biblical transformation will occur. It is this passion and intensity that makes Icicles such a bracing and spectacular thing. Imbued with beauty and tenderness- an arpeggio and little other accompaniment- the focus is on the lyrics and vocals. Few musicians could carry a song- with so few layers- and make it such a beautiful thing. Credit to Jasmine Rodgers who not only makes Icicles worthy: she makes it sound utterly essential and unforgettable.
Sense is the second-half of the double A-side. Whilst its sister was concerned with capturing love and a sought-after beau: we see a dynamic shift and a switch in emotions. Icicles was dedicated to chasing and fulfillment: positive and lustful; world-straddling and fast-moving. Sense begins with a similar arpeggio flair: it rushes away and ensures the listener is stood to attention. Clearly affected and determined: Rodgers asks the question: “Can you hear me?”. That sentiment is repeated and enforced. You sense- from the first words- these words are directed towards a lover. Perhaps someone who has been inattentive and remiss: a human that has not been as loyal and understanding as they should. Again, we get layered vocals and that build-up. The song has that live-sounding feel to it: you can imagine it going down particularly well with audiences; Sense is a shivering, atmospheric and mind-grabbing track. “Everybody needs to be believed”, our heroine attests: “So, why then, don’t you put your faith in me?”
Again, one-half of the brain will look at lovers and the imbalance they have- the fights and distance; the broken hearts- but you can take that interpretation to friendships and family- maybe something unexpected and different. In these early exchanges, little insight is given. Rodgers elongates the words and performs them with an underlying anger. You imagine a boyfriend or sweetheart is being assessed: someone that is not as supportive as they should be; dropping the ball. Such is the fascination you get from Rodgers: every line has a little mystique; room for interpretation. When delivering the lines- “Can you feel me?/Do you know how I feel?”- she spins the words and tees-up a funky beat. There is a definite kick and soulfulness that makes its presence known. Differing from Icicles– which was more straightforward and gentle- here, we get something harder and more Funk-influenced. Showing another side to the musician: you start to tap the toes and get the head nodding. Everybody needs to be believed and shown faith: something we all can relate to and understand. I would love to know what the circumstances are behind the song- and who has compelled the words. Such is the commitment and determination of the performance- embers of Laura Marling and Natalie Merchant come through. The composition boasts some wonderful percussion and busy nature: the strings spike and fizz; the drums roll and crack- it is an intense and complete song. While the seconds tick down, you hear reflections of Folk’s past masters- Nick Drake and Neil Young.; Joni Mitchell in there- given a modern and updated shine. Rodgers rides her mantra- not being believed and supported when needed- against a crackling and emotive composition. By the end, you hope satisfaction was achieved and she obtained that faith- knowing she might have to fight for it still.
Dan Carey (who produces here) has worked with the likes of Kate Tempest and Nick Mulvey. He brings the best out of Jasmine Rodgers and gives each track a shine- without making it too glossy and unnatural. The voice is out high in the mix ensuring every word can be heard and understood. Icicles and Sense are two different sides to an intriguing talent. The former allows something pure, tender and divine to come through- gentle acoustics and something that unites Celtic and Middle-East sounds. The latter is a more brash and angry song. Rodgers is in pensive mood and seems lost in confusions and anxieties. This allows for a more multi-dimensional and Funk/Rock-inspired sound to emerge. Carey ensures Rodgers’ sound is as clear, crisp and defined as it can be. Joined by Dan Kavanagh (he plays drums on Sense) it is remarkable to hear an artist- new and eager- sound confident, complete and astonishing. I know Blood Red Sun is coming out later in the year. There is cover art and album credits available- on SoundCloud– but only Icicles and Sense are available to hear. Icicles/Sense will be released across digital platforms (as a double A-side) from June 17th.
Jasmine Rodgers is one of those modern-day artists that will succeed naturally and without obstacle. A very beautiful and confident woman: just listen to her being interviewed and you can hear that passion and determination come through. She is not someone that is here for the short-term: you would not bet against her being a mainstream star in a few years to come. The double A-side Icicles/Sense demonstrates how spectacular and wonderful Rodgers. She creates lush and vivid soundtracks: moments that takes you someone beautiful and arrest the senses. Bringing together multiple genres and sounds; emotions and dimensions: few artists are as bold, confident and accomplished. I love coming back to London music and embracing the best home-grown musicians. This city has such a vibrancy and community. So many amazing musicians are being born and making London one of the world’s musical hotspots. Maybe L.A. and New York have more musicians- by virtue of its size and population- but London (not bias or anything) has more magic and mystery. It is something inexplicable and hard-to-pin-down. Rodgers is one of those musicians who will keep playing and plugging for a very long time. She loves performing and bringing her music to the crowds. With every interview and gig; you learn a little more about the young star. Revitalising and updating Folk for the 21st-century: one of the most vital and impressive artists we have in our midst. You cannot have Paul Rodgers as your father and resist the lure of music- refute the bite and itch to get up there and play. I mused about the subject of musicians’ children and following in footsteps: whether a musical heritage instantly results in inherited ability and knowledge. It is clear
Jasmine Rodgers has an advantage right from the off. Her mother’s art and father’s music filled her senses from birth: got inside the mind and (if subconsciously) drove her musical desire. Those expecting a Free/Bad Company-esque sound will be a little disappointed. Sure, Rodgers has a spectacular voice and incredible power: the music she plays differs (from her dad’s). Icicles/Sense have already been premièred: the reception garnered has been incredible. Not just focusing on getting the sound right- collaborating with some wonderful international musicians- the visuals are amazing. Icicles’ video is filled with unforgettable images and gorgeous views- perhaps natural; given her mother’s poetry and art. We have a complete and astonishing musician that surpasses her peers: one of those people you hope will go all the way and be a huge success. Listening to her speak- her recent interview with Jammerzine- you get lost in her voice and what she says. Music means everything to her and something that is in her blood.
So what of the future? In June, Rodgers will be playing across London- Dalston Eastern Curve Garden on the 7th; The Finsbury on the 14th (the single launch)- playing the Cambridge Rock Festival on August 6th. I will have to come and see her play as- on the back of her double A-side- I have completely fallen. Nobody will be immune from the beauty, passion and power of Jasmine Rodgers. I feel there are not enough musicians coming out that are themselves. People try and imitate others and get caught up fitting into a mould. Very few have the bravery, patience and guts to be different, unique and special. Jasmine Rodgers has not traded off her father’s cache and legacy: she is her own woman and makes her own music. Blood Red Sun will be arriving soon and is sure to receive a rapturous reaction. In the meantime: ensure you get to grips with Icicles and Sense. Two different sides to a wonderful and multi-talented musician: world domination will surely follow? I could see Rodgers having a huge fan-base in Japan and Asia: Australia and the U.S. are all likely to follow. The U.K. is on board and embracing one of its most extraordinary talents. If you need any more proof, check out her music; one thing is certain:
IT is among the best you will hear this year.
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