JDSY: Adage of Known

Following quickly upon the heels of his Moodgadget EP Understander, JDSY's digital-only full-length Adage of Known offers another fine introduction to Joey Sims' distinctive avant-pop swarm of beats, synths, and vocals (his remix of Solvent's “For You” vaulted Sims into the spotlight in 2005). The Ann Arbor-based producer's material changes shape mercurially, a quality nowhere more evident than in the audacious opening song “Else2” which ranges between instrumental synth-funk, sing-song vocal pop, hazy electronic folk, and stately classical-tinged melodicism in less than five minutes.

Whether intentional or not, Sims' baritone sometimes resemble Matthew Dear's. The swaying electro-lurch of “Drifter” and arcade clangor of “The Beetle,” for example, wouldn't sound out of place on Asa Breed. Like Dear, Sims isn't afraid to distort his vocals; on “Snake Smoke,” for instance, Sims sounds as if he's singing from the bottom of a steel silo. The rambunctious “Horizon Line” provides a sampling of drum programming skills though the song's focal point remains the staccato keyboard and half-speed vocal lines that arm-wrestle throughout. “Smoke & Mirrors” and “Osah” distill the best aspects of the JSDY sound—intricate electro-heavy arrangements and arresting, off-kilter melodies—into succinct two minute formations. In fact, all but two of the album's thirteen songs are in the two- to three-minute range, making Sims a poster child for brevity that others would do well to imitate.

May 2008