Jokatech – Standing Still Symphony
The latest two songs from indie hip hop songwriter 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.
“Polar Dragon” sets its sights on making a personal statement. From the first line to last, Jokatech is full of understated intensity and unleashes a torrent of verbal fireworks to illuminate issues of identity, self worth, and examining the place we occupy in our respective worlds. There isn’t a lot of fire and fury sparking from the track; instead, everything is tempered but eloquent and he wraps his warm voice around the lines like someone handing out much needed instruction. Phrasing need not always be the voice cracking, on the verge of tears. Instead, Jokatech takes an almost theatrical slant on his vocal and contrasts it against the track. The song builds slowly and bringing in drums half way through kicks the tune into a higher gear it didn’t previously move in. The keyboards are used in a fantastic way – they weave a spell of ominous atmosphere, but it’s never accomplished cheaply. Instead, the same amount of obvious thought distinguishes it as it does countless other elements in these songs.
“Melody Remedy” is a much lighter affair. It’s also more overtly musical and mixes piano with guitar and other funk-like textures quite effectively. His vocal is equally musical, rising and falling with the lyrics, before ending on a very satisfying note. “Polar Dragon” doesn’t run on too long and this song is even more focused. 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.