JIM – we play a wistful, soft track off his 4 track EP this week. And with only 18 months of guitar playing under his belt! The sublime and delicate sound of the EP made choosing a track to play rather difficult. The titular opening track gives way throughout to gentle strings, woven around JIM’s warm vocal tone. Both bowed and pizzicato the strings add dimension and tonal space to this comforting track. JIM picks up the tempo slightly on Phoenix and introduces slightly monastic sounding backing vocals for rich reward.
Moving on through the EP we drop Whisper In The Wind into the show. It’s a melancholic throw back to the days of Simon & Garfunkel and CSNY. Sounds of yesteryear brought bang up to date by JIM. The final track, You Know What To Say is more gentle acoustic noodling with the simple, very honest and light introduction of synth and choral voices. It’s all very stylistic and fresh sounding and indicative of the early promise from this multi-talented musician. One to watch in the future for sure.
This week’s playlist
- Top Of The World Shonen Knife
- Don’t Look Down Saint Kochi
- Whisper In The Wind JIM
- Porn Shoes The French
- Credence Ollie Hussey
- Cirkus Erland Apnesenth Trio
- The Searcher Aura Zorba
- Blitzkrieg Bop Shonen Knife
- Jet Shonen Knife
What do we know about JIM?
Since first emerging as part of Crazy P in the late 1990s, James Baron has released a lot of great music. However, he’s previously put out very little quite like the Falling They You Know EP. This is his first solo outing as JIM on NuNorthern Soul.
Baron has worked on a number of lauded projects outside of Crazy P. These include Ron Basejam (his nu-disco focused solo alias), Secret Stealth (a sample-heavy collaboration with Nottingham stalwart Bob Sadler) and White Elephant (a Balearic-minded outfit featuring Crazy P partner Chris Todd and old friend Benjamin Smith).
JIM – Falling That You Know, inaugural 4-track EP
The FALLING THAT YOU KNOW EP sees JIM exploring an explicitly stripped-back, sensatory and soft-focus sound. It features a quartet of hazy home recordings. Created using little more than an acoustic guitar, piano, keyboard and some toy instruments belonging to his children. The music stretched across the EP is warming, wide-eyed and picturesque. JIM showcases his rarely heard singing voice as well as a finger-picking guitar. A style he’s spent the best part of 18 months perfecting.
Those with a wide-ranging musical palette will spot subtle sonic references to some of his lesser-known musical inspirations. Singer-songwriters Ned Doheny and Nick Drake to name just two. Secondly, there’s a folksy, homespun charm to the campfire-ready bliss of opener Falling That You Know. Baron delivers his own thoughtful lyrics atop shuffling shaker percussion, layered acoustic guitar, smooth bass, synth-strings and sustained piano chords.
Arguably even more impressive is Phoenix. A swelling, simmering and sweeping semi-acoustic cover of the Cult track of the same name. It also features backing vocals from Crazy P chanteuse Danielle Moore. Magical and mesmerizing, Baron’s version takes the goth-rock classic in a stunning, sunset-ready new direction.
The second side of the EP
Furthermore, Baron’s dedication to the finger-picking style long associated with folk music comes to the fore on Whisper in the Wind. The track is a future early evening singalong that gently builds across six spellbinding minutes. From a delicate and pared-back start, Baron layers up instrumentation including additional guitar by White Elephant’s Benjamin Smith, drums courtesy of Crazy P sticks-man Matt Klose, and his own mazy, spacey synth lines.
Finally, there’s closing cut You Know What To Say. An effortlessly emotive, tactile and atmospheric affair that cannily distils all that is good about Baron’s latest solo venture into three magical minutes. It offers a near perfect end to an EP of rare pastoral beauty.
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