J.G. Wilkes Jaxon EP
A quartet of outer-limits cuts come courtesy of Optimo's Jonnie Wilkes.
Best known as one half of the record-spinning, tune-producing, party-tossing twosome Optimo, Jonnie “J.G.” Wilkes has long been running riot through what could loosely be called “dance music.” His solo productions, however, have been a bit sporadic—at least, that was the case until last year, when the Vinyl Factory label pressed up his eight-track, wax-only mini-album German Pizza Party. If you know anything about Optimo, you probably realize that Wilkes is gleefully ignorant of genre and willfully drawn to weirdness—and that’s largely what you got with German Pizza Party, via tracks that varied in form from languid-yet-unsettling ambient to rib-rattling EBM. Now, for those outside of the vinyl-worshiping world, the label has thoughtfully compiled a few of that record’s cuts on the Jaxon EP, with added the bonus of a pair of wondrous remixes.
Anchored by an angular, machine-age percussion, the EP’s title track brandishes a syncopated buzz that sounds something like a Tesla coil that’s acquired a sense of funk; Barnt, on rerub duty, unsnarls the rhythms, burnishes the rough edges and injects a healthy dose of fluttering synths, with the result coming across as streamlined, fully-electronic version of a Harmonia tune. The beat-free “Bathing Beauty,” meanwhile, entices with alluring, glistening textures and a circular, lullaby-esque melody as a darker undercurrent of danger lurks below—occasionally manifesting itself though a few wildly dischordant orchestral bursts. The EP’s grand finale comes in the form of a remix of “Useful Tool” from Naum Gabo (the partnership of Wilkes and fellow Glaswegian James Savage)—the near-frenetic track feels like a dystopian version of HI-NRG, as if Bobby O was commissioned for the soundtrack of a new edition of Deus Ex. It’s a fitting capper for an oddball release, one that should easily garner the solo Wilkes a few more fans of eccentric electronics.