What happens when a group of talented experimental producers decide to bring beat-based electronic music to a live band setting? This is precisely the aesthetic of the Portland, Maine-based collective known as Jaw Gems. Applying names like “drip hop” and “ratchet jazz” to their sound, the members of Jaw Gems seek to bring together the more nuanced, impressionable beats of artists like the late J Dilla and Flying Lotus with influences of chilled out indie rock. The group actually plays instruments and on the surface it may strike you as falling into the realm of “jamtronica”, but this is not at all jam music or necessarily even dance music. Using instruments like a Roland sp404 and the Juno 106 analog synth among others, Jaw Gems create music that is simultaneously polished like electronic music and also loose and flowing like jazz.
The group’s new album HEATWEAVER will be released August 26 on STS9’s 1320 Records and to support the release they will be heading out on tour this fall as the opening act for modern funk purveyors Lettuce. Today we are excited to present an exclusive premiere of the song “DaVinci” right here on Glide Magazine. The song definitely comes in a similar vein to J Dilla with a feeling of swelling momentum that perfectly balances with the lethargic groove.
Speaking on “DaVinci”, the members of Jaw Gems say, “A lot of times songs will take root from a practice regiment or exercise, and the idea will develop as it is recorded and listened to again and again. ‘DaVinci’ was conceived in this way while studying a particular set of gospel changes, and repeatedly laying them over a simple scratch drum groove to iron out the harmony. We wanted to utilize the biting sound of the Farfisa compact organ combined with the twelve string guitar to achieve a kind of pleasantly alarming sound, while the P-bass [percussion bass] and synth leads gave the song a grimy hug.”
Photo: Niki Taylor