Influences 20: Jesu
The music behind 'Terminus.'
Influences 20: Jesu
The music behind 'Terminus.'
Justin K. Broadrick‘s Terminus, available now, is his sixth solo album as Jesu, a project formed as a vehicle to explore the dream pop, shoegaze, and electronica that soundtracked much of the British experimental musician’s youth. Its eight songs are inspired by concepts of rejection, dependency, nostalgia, and loneliness, and together they comprise the first full-length Jesu effort in over seven years.
Jesu’s origins can be traced back to 2003 and the dissolution of Godflesh, an industrial metal band formed in 1982 in Birmingham, England. Eager to give shape to his early solo work, Broadrick, a guitarist by trade, began to develop some early demos which became the primitive beginnings of Jesu. He promptly delivered Heart Ache & Dethroned, two sprawling songs of modern pop melancholy, all before the gorgeously hypnotic Silver and then Conqueror, a debut album brimming with lush electronics, dulcet guitar textures, and lavish atmospheric hues. In 2013, Broadrick released Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came, Jesu’s last album to date.
In this latest Influences mix, Broadrick gives us a peek inside the Jesu world, revealing the music that shaped his ear for melancholy, with particular focus on the record he went back to while working on Terminus. These are the feelings he tried to capture; the emotions he tried to elicit. Beginning with The Beatles, the mix moves through songs from the likes of The Cure, Oasis, Doves, and Codeine, before wrapping up with a stunner from Kate Bush. Take a step back and into the Terminus sessions.
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01. The Beatles “Across the Universe” [Regal Starline]
One of my favourite Beatles songs, that’s always with me.
02. The Cure “All Cats Are Grey” [Fiction Records]
I first heard this as a kid after the early singles, but this was the song that convinced me that I love The Cure. The sombre mood was immediately an influence, as was the song title.
03. Squarepusher “Tommib” [Warp]
I would play this track on repeat at night by myself at the back lounge of a tour bus on an especially lonely tour. The album had just been released.
04. The Longcut ”Vitamin C” [Deltasonic Records]
This caught my attention in passing, and then I became obsessed with the song. Its New Order-like charm was immediate for me, and it has had an impact on this new Jesu album.
05. Doves ”The Cedar Room” [Heavenly]
This was the first song I ever heard by Doves, and it’s my still my favorite. I heard it while Jesu was still in its infancy.
06. Slowdive “Shine” [Creation]
I slept on Slowdive at the time; I youthfully and ignorantly wrote them off as simply a carbon copy of My Bloody Valentine. This was during that period when a lot of bands were copping the My Bloody Valentine influence. Then some time in the early 2000s I rediscovered Slowdive, and they’re of course amazing. This song is floating above the earth.
07. Oasis “Listen Up” [Creation]
I listened to this song non-stop while completing the writing process of this new album. I’ve loved Oasis since the time I heard “Live Forever” drunk out of my mind on a flight with Ben Green from Godflesh to New York in 1994. The last real and raw pop punk band.
08. Baby Bird “Saturday” [Baby Bird Recordings]
Somewhat written off for the ironic pop hit “You’re Gorgeous,” which is a shame because there is so much more to Baby Bird. The album Fatherhood is one of my favorite albums of all time. This song and the early Baby Bird albums impacted Jesu generally. Quintessentially British. “All the love in the world won’t make things better.”
09. Red House Painters “Brockwell Park” [4AD]
Red House Painters has always influenced Jesu. There’s too many stellar songs
10. Chapterhouse “Pearl” [Dedicated]
Another band that I originally wrote off as a cheap copy of My Bloody Valentine. Then I heard this song on acid, in the early ’90s. I’ve been obsessed ever since. It’s always in Jesu.
11. Bill Callahan “The Breeze / My Baby Cries” [Chapter Music]
I only heard this a few years ago. It destroyed me and it does every time I hear it. I listened to it too many times during the Terminus sessions.
“Yesterday I talked with my father, he said that we could never win, it’s so hard to tell where I end, and my father begins.”
12. Pale Sketcher / Jesu “Can I Go Now” (Donnacha Costello Remix) [Ghostly International]
The Donnacha Costello album Together is the New Alone was a huge influence on the first two Jesu releases, when I was still fighting off the ghost of Godflesh. Thankfully, eventually our paths crossed, and he remixed this Pale Sketcher version of the Jesu song, and much to my joy made it sound much like the album that influenced me so much. I played this a lot around the Terminus sessions.
13. Aphex Twin “Selected Ambient Works Volume II, Track 03”
Brian Eno’s “An Ending (Ascent)” has had an impact across all my music, and this track from Aphex Twin has the same mood, and for me the same emotional impact. I revisited this a lot over the last few years.
14. Pink Floyd “Us and Them” [Harvest]
Some of my earliest memories as a kid were soundtracked by The Dark Side of the Moon. My step-dad was obsessed with it. The excruciatingly slow and heavy songs by Jesu were always informed by an idea I had of playing Pink Floyd at a quarter of the speed and as low tuned as possible. The album The Wall pretty much became the Jesu song “Tired of Me.”
15. M83 “Run Into Flowers” [Gooom]
I accidentally came across this while writing the Jesu EP Silver. I loved it immediately. I think this song has been in Jesu from that point onwards.
16. Cocteau Twins “Lorelei” [4AD]
Jesu would not exist with the Cocteau Twins. Pre-shoegaze, and also one of the first bands I saw with a drum machine!
17. Codeine “Realise” [Sub Pop]
Of course Codeine massively influenced Jesu, always! This was the first song I heard upon release of this album, in 1992. It immediately reminded me of Dinosaur Jr., whom I also loved.
18. Kate Bush “This Woman’s Work” [EMI]
One of my favourite artists of all time. This song is so perfectly ’80s, and perfectly upsetting, and always in Jesu. Fundamentally, Jesu is clearly influenced musically by many mainstream pop music artists; it’s a flawed and failed interpretation of these musicians, coming from a musician who made his name via extreme music, and with Jesu I’m constantly at war with that stigma.
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