Jamie Jones: Don't You Remember the Future
Crosstown Rebels

Jamie Jones makes a more-than-auspicious artist album debut with Don't You Remember The Future, a booty-shaking, hour-long collection that includes an above-average share of classic future-funk tracks. Though Jones has been a known quantity in underground dance music circles for a few years now, his profile should assuredly rise with the release of this playful and oft-fabulous set. Calling it, as the accompanying press notes do, “intergalactic techno-house, where old-school Prince meets cybertron” isn't far off the mark. Jone's house beats are solid, but perhaps the album's most distinguishing trait is the clever way it threads vocals and vocal samples (sung and spoken, and often chopped and looped) throughout its tracks.

The slightly tongue-in-cheek title track—in essence a spoken word overture—sets the stage with a double-tracked Jones describing the oppressed condition of life circa 2116 and an imminent underground music rebellion poised to rectify it. Of course, it's little more than a rather silly conceptual springboard for the album (by Jones' own admission, “It's all fun and games, an excuse for me to get all geeky and sci-fi!”), but no one'll complain once the succeeding tracks roll out. The appropriately-spacey “Mars” drapes intergalactic synth lines over a sexy funk groove whose bounce Jones warps via growls, claps, and assorted voice samples; the track's bleepy, bass-heavy jack is tasty but even better is the track that follows,“Summertime,” where Prince-styled vocals by Norwegian duo Ost & Kjex turn the cut into the year's sexiest anthem; Jones loops a couple of vocal snippets into a deliciously funky backing track, while the song's jacking pulse bolsters its club appeal. Elsewhere on the vocal-based tip, London-based Alison Mars (aka Alison Marks) drapes a seductive, trip-hop vocal over robotic beats in the after-hours track “Absolute Zero,” while the infectious dance floor burner “Galactic Space Bar” couples The Egyptian Lover's live vocals with a cybotron funk beat, android voice effects, and menacing synth figures. Just like the cyborg that is the song's subject matter, “Half Human” locates a perfect middle ground between synthetic machine funk and the human sweat of soulful vocal interjections, and voice fragments arrange themselves in “Sand Dunes” into a dizzying swirl while an acid-electro groove pulsates underneath.

Admittedly, not all the material is up to the album's peak moments: though an “eh-ooh” vocal fragment forms an ear-catching spine in “Deep in the Ghetto,” the track is little more than a jam and hardly the equal of “Mars” or “Summertime,” and the three closing tracks don't rise to their level either. Even so, Don't You Remember The Future includes at least five or six standouts, with the others offering support that's at the very least decent. “Mars,” “Summertime,” and “Galactic Space Bar” alone earn the album its recommendation.

October 2009