Walter Merlin Jones is a perfectionist. A presence in the house scene since the late ‘80s, the DJ and producer has, over the years, created thousands of undoubtedly wonderful, but unfinished, songs – a staggering collection of musical bits that have fallen victim to his tendency to be his own worst critic. Yet, that same perfectionism has yielded some of the most engaging dance music of the last decade, however scant – songs that are aural proof of his preference for quality over quantity. Jones’s first DFA release, 2009’s “I’ll Keep On Loving You/Living Without Your Love,” confirmed his commitment to this idea with subtle grace and slow, seductive rhythms. Now, with Graceful Exit – which pairs Jones’s talents with singer Ellipsis, Boston producer Chas Bronz and saxophonist Jesse Allen -- the New Orleans-raised artist continues to showcase his discerning ear, proffering music with a modern, evolved take on disco’s very best virtues.
Among the results is the aptly titled “Revolve Disco,” a new track that, even at first listen, sounds like a classic. The pressing bass line at the heart of the music is a guiding force; a hefty floor supporting Chas’s guitar dashes, beat-keeping handclaps, synths that radiate and shine and Ellipsis’s soft, soulful vocals. “Entrance” the lone instrumental track here, is simultaneously full of exhilarating energy and atmospheric spaciness; the bass thumps as the synthesizers expand toward the cosmos. And “Let It Ride” begins with pretty, silvery synths, then fills out with wafting saxophone, skittering keys and Ellipsis sounding, unexpectedly, like a latter day Boy George.
Walter Merlin Jones’s has previously released music on Cisco, Westbound and Supersoul, and has been DJ’ing house and all manner of dance music since the early ‘90s. Collaborator Chas Bronz released a solo EP “Walking In Space” On Spacewalker Recordings. He also makes music with Slovenian producer Sare Havlicek in “Trans-Atlantic Disco Alliance” on UK-based imprint Nang Records, as well as, “Casual Encounters” on Spacewalker Recordings, and trio “Long Distance Analog” on Mullet Records, whose members include Graceful Exit band mate Jesse Allen.
Published: 30th March 2011