We first saw Jems infectious swing alter-ego surface back in 2004 with some low key remixes for Jalapeno Records and a single release on Finger Lickin Records, but the sound we’re hearing now only really surfaced in 2011 with his debut release on Freshly Squeezed, the “Electric Circus EP“. Since then Jem has let loose a plethora of swing tinged toons on some of the best labels in the scene today. He has recorded a huge collaboration with super funker Kid Creole (ask your parents kids), got down and dirty with “Lick The Spoon” and hit the top (o the town) with MC Mouthmaster Murf and MC Goldseal on Ghetto Funk.
After all the hard work it was inevitable that Jem’s consistent output would form a long player and “Stone Grooves Vol 1″ is the result. The album kicks off with bumping jazz vibes of “The Jem Stone Express” which sets the scene perfectly with smooth, spaced out synth licks and classic swing samples intertwined with beefy kick-snare combo and all kinds of sound effects. Can just imagine walking through some space punk inspired city with this as the soundtrack.
“Well Oiled Machine” throws down some steppy broken beats with a sparse bassline and off kilter synths. “Holy Smoke” (ft. Roxanna Panufnik) (gotta be a relation?) is lush balearic material done right, perfect Ibiza beach music. “No Place For A Lady” sees the swing vibes come out to play again with a bouncy house beat and plenty of horn action. “Sweetpea” marks the halfway point of the album and is almost an album itself. At 10:45 you could squeeze four modern day trap bangers into its time slot (don’t play trap, please). It twists and turns through many sonic soundscapes and ambient noise spheres, bringing the listener on a proper journey with leisurely hip hop beat interludes and organically twinkling pads.
“Hot Dog Supreme” is another slo mo swing-house meld that combines all elements nicely leading into “Storm In A Teacup” which hammers out tribal techno rhythms with disco licks and filter fx. Would love to hear a Soul Of Man breakbeat remix of this! “Penshala” sees the trip hop sound creeping back upon us with great results. On “You Are Nothing Without Me” Jem breaks out the breakbeats on this dark-swing-tinged roller, “Fake Ghost” is a percussive, tech house ride leading into the last track, the aptly named “The Final Curtain”.
Jem has achieved what many dance music artists mess up and has written a proper album. With many twists and turns, highs and lows and a diverse mix of dancefloor beats blended with downtempo grooves and just plain old good music. Full support from Free Breaks Blog.
If you’re feeling any of the tracks they are all available to purchase separately, as an entire album, as a mixed, hour long showcase and if you’re just to tight/skint/poor to muster up a couple of £/$ to support, then the whole thing can be streamed from Soundcloud or below :).