Ritual [Pop]

RELEASE: 13.06.2008

LABEL: Cooperative Music

VERTRIEB: Universal

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF JAPE “It was fuckin’… pretty mental!’ beams Richie Egan, Dublin resident and sole proprietor of the Jape alter ego, referring to a turn of events he will doubtless be asked about a lot over the coming months. “Watching Jack White playing the riff in this massive arena in Dublin, with all these people thinking, ‘Who the fuck is Jape?’ and me going, ‘That’s me, motherfuckers!’ Very strange.”

Very strange indeed. Young Richie is talking, you see, not just of any old riff played by The White Stripes mainman, but the opening twang of his song; a song entitled ‘Floating’; a song that one Brendan Benson was so taken with on hearing, totally by chance, in a tiny Irish bar, that he felt compelled to first ask the DJ what it was (we are talking here, after all, about a tune by a little known local producer/singer/songwriter) and then to spend the rest of the year covering it every night in his and Jack's band, The Raconteurs. Quite a compliment, when you consider the only other songs being covered by said supergroup on the tour were Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’ and David Bowie’s version of ‘It Ain’t Easy’. “After that,” Richie notes, “People from labels, and managers, and solicitors and shit started MySpacing me all the time."

A gorgeously stoned, slacker-pop nugget ‘Floating’ may be (already immortal opening couplet: “We took our first pill when the music was shit/I said, ‘Fuck dancing all night,' and then that’s just what we did”), and one that perfectly illustrates its creator’s love of both melody and modern, mechanical beat-laden production, but there is more to the Jape story than just one song. Much more. There's a plethora of new stuff – we'll get to that in a second – but first, in his own words, here's a quick bit of Richie Egan history.

"I was in a lot of hardcore punk bands when I was a kid, just got really into that scene," he begins. "And then I joined a band called The Redneck Manifesto. And we're still going. We made four or five DIY albums of, like, Fugazi-type underground stuff, and we toured Europe twice and America, totally off our own backs. That was amazing, but I was into songwriter-y-type stuff and electronic music as well, and I just wanted to do some of that. So I went to a little house for a week with a big bag of grass and an Adat machine, and that's where the first record came from."

That first Jape record was called 'Cosmosphere', and came out in 2003. Only 500 copies were pressed, so you'll do well to find one these days. Comprised of eight songs – "Like a Black Sabbath album!" – it's a charmingly lo-fi affair, split down the middle between skewed alt.folk songs and "really fucked up, weird Gameboy electronica." This was swiftly followed the next year by the quite awesomely titled (and nowadays similarly scarce) 'The Monkeys In The Zoo Have More Fun Than Me'. A less sketchy, much more focused long player, this is the album which contains 'Floating', and the record that typifies the Jape sound as you will soon know it.

"Like anyone these days, I just listen to loads of shit," shrugs Richie. "Anything with a really interesting, unusual melody, that's what I get off on. That's what I'm trying to do – make music that sounds strange, but music that is accessible at the same time." A few people have said that sound is like "an Irish Beck" and, certainly, in its mish mash of 'Led Zeppelin III'-esque acoustic guitars, glitchy Four Tet-style beats and haze-y vocals, there are some similarities to 'Odelay!'. The way the arrangements grow, with songs evolving into multi-layered, swaying mini-anthems means The Beta Band have also been mentioned, too. Except an "Irish Beta Band," obviously.

But anyway, that's more than enough comparisons and more than enough about the past. There's a whole new album of fantastically warped-yet-positively-hummable leftfield gems currently being perfected and, in the meantime, an EP that people will be able to buy from places other than eBay. 'Floating' is on it, but equally impressive are the upbeat, almost new romantic 'Christopher & Anthony' and the stripped back, sagely 'Young Man'. There's the party-startin' Jape live show, also, where Richie and his three piece band, with the help of their array of vintage synths, guitars and sometimes temperamental drum machines, use the recorded versions of the songs as mere sketches, and concentrate instead on making people move their feet. "The live thing is fucking great now," Richie enthuses. "It used to be that people would be just stood there, not really knowing what to make of it, but now we've got it right people just go nuts. Which is what we want, of course!"

Richie Egan, aka Jape, pauses, before adding: "Everything's all ready to go now!"

(Quelle: Cooperative Music, 2008)


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