Experimental duo JeGong has released their debut album simply titled I. Featuring Dahm Majuri Cipolla of MONO fame and Reto Mäder of Sum Of R, the band’s first project is a bleak, heavy, and asymmetrical exploration of dystopia. Employing an experimental blend of rock subgenres, the album examines music at its most angular, driven by aesthetic more than concept. Each song is its own dusty, rugged world, the skilled duo managing to showcase intention even within the album’s more meandering titles.
I is a remarkable feat of musicianship. While undoubtedly abstract, the project manages to be catchy in its own way. This is perhaps most noticeable on “Akashic.” At nearly four-minutes, the song is on the shorter side for this project. Still, it packs a punch with its meditation on subtlety. The song subverts expectations by pushing glitchy distortion to the front of the mix and layering the project’s signature drums in the background, asking the listener to lean in and appreciate hints of synth. JeGong rightly follows “Akashic” with “Ghost City,” an inversion of the previous track with drums at the forefront and ambient glitching in the background. The contrast is satisfying and proves the artists to be attentive to detail even within a large body of work. This is the cornerstone of I: a demonstration of detailed thinking and musical expansion.
Each track on JeGong’s debut is a self-contained world. But these smaller worlds work together to form a larger, more complex one. Towards the end of “Ghost City,” the soundscape changes, as if we’re reaching the outer limits of an alien planet. The new sounds that enter the frame provide a sort of transition of ideas, giving the following track, “The Great Return of an Escaped Spirit,” a loose framework in which it unravels its own ideas. I is a tour of worlds and Dahm and Reto are our guides.
I is a promising start to JeGong’s career. With lengthy and even non-objective songs, the duo forms a world of sound that is immersive and raw. Though not perfect–with some elements coming across as artsy for the sake of being artsy–I stands as a well-crafted album. Dahm and Reto have formed something special through their collaboration, hopefully their next project will continue the trend.