Jokatech – Standing Still Symphony
The latest two songs from indie composer and New York City native Jokatech are further entries in a successful artistic career. While Jokatech may not enjoy the same marquee notoriety experienced by more commercial performers, there’s little question after listening to his music that this is a songwriter and performer of rare distinction. His lyrical constructions are full of fire, intelligence, sarcastic humor, and the preening self-confidence while he shows the phrasing of a three decade or more veteran when delivering his songs. He is, essentially, an one man band responsible for the lyrics, melodies, and backing track and the responsibilities do not seem to have negatively affected his creativity. Instead, he sounds positively inspired. This is an artist unafraid of entertaining his listeners, but moreover, he’s unafraid to plumb into the depths of his life and return to the surface with something that might resonate or otherwise enlighten you.
Standing Still Symphony, his latest release, opens with “And Now We Wait (Intro)”, a memorable work that inexorably moves from a stripped back beginning full of Jokatech’s vocals and freewheeling piano melodies into a second section where Jokatech raises the musical ante quite a bit and makes a big impression on longtime jazz devotees. His compositional range is quite extensive and the first song alone shows him to be an artist unafraid of taking chances. “Brother Muhammad – Tszss” is one of the better memorials to recently dead boxing legend Muhammad Ali that you will likely hear. Jokatech lets the Greatest speak for himself throughout much of the track thanks to his clever utilization and arrangement of various media clips from over the decades. Jokatech also brings his own considerable creativity to bear on the track by framing those contributions in an ideal musical light and mood.
The title song has a tense, but confident, air. It may strike some listeners as coming closer to performed poetry with weighty musical backing thanks to the manner of Jokatech’s vocal delivery, but that certainly isn’t a weakness. His willingness to test limits while still remaining a highly entertaining performer help make these sort of gambles pay off. There’s a hint of the theatricality about this kind of treatment too, but not in a bad way. Instead, Jokatech’s method of presentation heightens the potential for drama. The album’s long pieces, “Internally Eternally” and “Simultaneous Paradox”, represent moments on the release when Jokatech’s artistic ambitions reach their zenith. His wont for experimentation fully emerges, but the tracks remain quite entertaining despite their length.
All of the distractions have fallen away for Jokatech and his primary focus often seems to be on writing songs lacking even a single ounce of fat, a wasted note, or a needless word. This is one of the sorts of performers that the hip hop genre and all its countless sub-genres need to prosper and grow in the coming years. He has a fully developed vision that tosses the commercial aside in favor of pure self-expression. Regardless whether the performer wields a guitar, plays a solo, or merely grips a mic while rapping for an audience, we should all be glad that anyone continues caring enough to do this so well.
9 out of 10 stars
YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/jokatech