Over the course of the past decade or so, Jack J has released a slew of singles that showcase a unique sound that blends atmospheric funk, cheeky ambient jazz and liquid digital dub. His last record, 2015’s Thirstin’, was a near perfect single and felt like a real breakout moment. But then Jack J was gone, and we hadn’t heard from him since.
Now after a seven year hiatus, Jack J is back. It’s been a rather long journey to the release of his debut album, Opening The Door, and it’s well worth the wait. Masterfully constructed and arranged, the album’s soundscapes create a uniquely austere vibe that keeps you spaced-out grooving with every play. The whole thing brings to mind vintage Arthur Russell imbued with the hazy, new-agey electronic vibe we’ve come to expect from Jack J and the Mood Hut camp.
The overall sound of the album has an inherent airiness to it thanks to Jack J’s signature dubby production style, yet there are plenty of lo-fi moments that serve to ground Opening The Door. It’s a masterful piece of mood-making that confirms him to be as much a songwriter as a producer, with saxophone work by Linda Fox lending the record a distinctly melancholy feel.
The dreamy “Clues (Part I)” features some gorgeous saxophone, while “I Saw Fire” furthers the thoughtfulness of the record, providing an environment for your mind to wander in. In these moments it’s impossible not to get caught up in Jack J’s world—it’s rare that an album invites you so completely into its own universe.