In recent times, it’s become almost as popular to dislike the term ‘lo-fi’ as it once was to love it. As the sun goes down and rises up again, along with it comes a series of new dance music trends that the popular must abide by. Meme like aliases and television show inspired monikers seem to make some music enthusiasts angry. It’s like they think that you can’t be taking your productions seriously if you have an artist name like DJ Seinfeld.
Well, two things are for sure, with Time Spent Away From U, it’s clear that Armand Jakobsson takes his productions very seriously, and anyone who categorised him simply because of his alias now looks a little bit silly.
Jakobsson’s sitcom related alias was actually inspired through heartbreak, just like his debut record. A break up led to the artist isolating himself within the safety of his bedroom, with Jerry Seinfeld and Cosmo Kramer laying a supportive hand on the shoulder.
This sadness has been channelled into the creation of Time Spent Away From U, an “extended post-heartbreak love letter” that takes its listener on a journey through distorted, tear jerking and nostalgic fuelled house and techno. You will not find any experimental interludes or ambient sound design. This is party music, but party music that will make you cry.
The track titles are wonderfully to the point. We begin with the emotive and playful melodies of ‘I Hope I Sleep Tonight’ before filtering into the bewildering title of ‘I Saw Her Kiss Him In Front Of Me And I Was Like WTF?’ The latter takers on an angrier aesthetic. Distortion threatens to boil over as tripped out acid lines and lo-fi elements begin to circle. The first stand out track comes in the form of ‘Too Late For U And M1’. Breaks combine with a throwback to Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’ as an underlaying acid line squirms its way through the crowd.
There really isn’t a bad track on the LP. ‘Time Spent Away From U’ follows the trend of overwhelming distortion that symbolises the level of emotion that the track possesses. It’s like the production equipment can’t quite handle the level of sadness and anguish that only heartbreak can incite.
‘How You Make Me Feel’ feels just like it should. We’ve all been in love. We know how it feels. The acid tinged funk that radiates from the track matches the joyous feeling of knowing you’re loved in return. A feeling that filters into absolutely everything and makes you want to dance.
The best track on the album, for me, is ‘U Hold Me Without Touch’. Jakobsson expertly crafts heart wrenching keys whilst masterfully choosing his moment for the insertion of a vocal sample. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to hear this out and turn to see tears running down the faces of those dancing.
We reach our sombre climax with ‘U’. The final track is a reminder of the journey we’ve just taken. There are highs and lows to Time Spent Away From U’. It’s much like a relationship in that respect. Again keys are expertly applied to achieve maximum emotional engagement as uplifting atmospherics offer the chance for self reflection.
Half way through an Irish man’s voice begins to talk. “When my missus left me I was in love with her. I was destroyed, by all of that. You know, if it’s happened to you, if you’re listening to this, you’ll understand what goes on. You’re consumed in this universe of grief.”
As the gentleman’s voice drowns out the volume is ramped up once more, almost illustrating that through the hurt there is hope, hope that you will one day be able to move on from that immersive romance that still lodges itself within your very soul.
With Time Spent Away From U, Jakobsson has created one of the best dance music LPs of the year while simultaneously reminding us that it’s OK to cry.