For me, the delight in writing a review lies essentially in the attempt to convey through words, the emotive palette of colours conjured by the music I have been listening to for the past few days.
In the case of ‘Loud to Sleep’ by Jet Plane, the words languid and melancholy immediately sprang to mind. Somewhat reassuringly, these are words which the band themselves have used to describe their distinctive sound.
“Everything is connected” is a line from the movie of David Mitchell’s book, ‘Cloud Atlas’. Serendipitously, I had for some time been meaning to, and finally got around to watching this move last night. I discovered this morning that Jet Plane derived their name from the very same book…
Jet Plane are a post-rock quintet from the industrial city of Bryansk, formed in 2009 following the demise of drummer Dima Bulavincev’s former band Rain Tongue, Jet Plane cite Mogwai and Sigur Ros as influences.
As counterpoints to the languid melancholy, Jet Plane also effortlessly evoke a sense of strident energy and cheerful optimism, without light there can be no shade.
Opening track ‘Laurel Trees/21 Guns’ is a vibrant showcase for the remainder of this 7 track, CD and digital release through the Tokyo based Ricco Label. It’s one of those tracks where the whole is a sum of it’s multi instrumental parts, each part in itself a meandering triumph in exaltation of the entirety.
Often the bagpipe is associated with the dirge and lament, an accompaniment to a folk tradition steeped in subjugation, hardship and relentless toil. Whilst it may be all of these things, intrinsically it is an indefatigable, droning celebration of the strength of will and spirit, needed to overcome the centuries old privations of austerity. It is an instrument which helps turn the negative to heart beating positivity.
Title track, ‘Loud to Sleep’ continues the refrain, weaving eastern textures in patterns of authenticity, that only a band truly from the ‘east’ can muster.
‘Fog’ with it’s mournful tolling bell awakened childhood memories of my fisher-folk heritage, a shared inheritance of hard graft with the factory workers of the formerly, densely wooded Bryansk region.
‘Sundog’ is an epic 11 minute jazz signatured, cacophonous exercise in the revelry of the soul.
‘(You Can Hear Them) Whisper’ is filled with sombre ancestral voices echoing the past, balanced with gleaming tones and laughter, hinting at the as yet to be realised future.
Two specific favourite tracks that I am reminded of when listening to “Loud to Sleep’, are ‘Surgical Triumph’ recorded way ahead of it’s time in 1980 by The Skids, and ‘North’ from NahooToo in 1997 by Paul Mounsey – both equally suffused with an effervescent warmth of character, which is the trademark sound of Jet Plane.
Album closer, ‘Whale’ completes the cycle with a track which encapsulates the scale, majesty and mystery of it’s namesake leviathan of the hidden depths.
A week ago, I had not even heard of Jet Plane – one week later and I feel as if I have known them all of my life…