by Jeff Milo
Christopher Jarvis performs Clairsentient’s release show on January 17th at the New Dodge Lounge (8850 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck), with Doc Waffles, Mister, Eddie Logix Emily Rose and Pastel Arsenal. Doors at 8pm - $5 – more info: newdodgelounge.com
Christopher Jarvis was on Metro Times’ cover three years ago. It was for the Blowout, but it was before the scene had really heard of him yet. Now is really the time to start listening. Clairsentient’s charms come from Jarvis maturing into an ever-more capable composer of heavily atmospheric electronica, with his talents for sequencing having caught up to his inspired vision for sound experimentation. Jarvis follows in the footsteps of cerebral-sounding electronika-stars like Four Tet, Boards of Canada, or even Detroit’s own Shigeto. He blends acoustic and synthetic instruments: loops from his laptop lilt over chiming bells, countless drum samples, from bongos to hand-claps, spill varying rhythmic patterns under distorted bass grooves. A key track displaying his heightened songwriting senses would be “Star Tetrahedron,” where latent Radiohead-influences glisten through three varying movements that each build towards a tension of meticulously intertwining instrumental elements, synthesized vibes, organs and whooshing shakers seem to knot-up to a dazzling tightness before pulling back into a blooming refrain.
The voice of Jarvis isn’t heard on any track, but it’s not strictly instrumental. Three local rappers and an indie-R&B crooner come in for cameos: Doc Waffles’ unconventional, sometimes ambling cadences fit just barely atop the danceable beats of “Paradox,” spitting eloquently about sushi and kale smoothies, while Doc Illingsworth takes over at the second verse, displaying his knack for tight, swiftly rounding rhymes.
“Dreams Of Falling” takes James Linck’s high, hazy ballad style and spreads it smoothly over the downbeat defying delivery of SelfSays, tumbling raps out almost too fast amid the soaring synth and steadier, more meditative beat, until he brings it down for a steady mantra that fits the subtle enlightenment that Jarvis, himself, found, on this solo outing: “Inside himself / he lost himself / Inside himself he found himself
now try.” Yes, we say “enlightenment,” since, hey, there’s a track called “Bodhisattva” breaking up side one and side two.