Mr. Jones: Sounds For the Mute
The Public Stand

The seed for Sounds For The Mute, Jonas Uittenbosch's debut album under the Mr. Jones alias, was planted at 2010's Amsterdam Dance Event Demolition Panel when host Dave Clarke took note of Uittenbosch and subsequently gave the Haarlem upstart airplay on his radio show. Uittenbosch certainly lunged at the opportunity, as he then gave Clarke a new Mr. Jones track every week for the next six months, and not long after Clarke invited Uittenbosch to his new studio where the two formed the production unit Unsubscribe.

Yet despite all of the satisfactions his newfound success brought, Uittenbosch still felt one thing was missing: an album. And so, with The Public Stand behind him, Mr. Jones' fifty-two-minute debut gradually came into being. While on the one hand it fits firmly into the techno genre, in another way it challenges its conventions. For instance, artist albums by dance music producers often split into dancefloor and non-dancefloor tracks; as far as Uittenbosch is concerned, Sounds For The Mute parts company from the norm in blurring the lines between the two. By his own estimation, “even the soundscapes [he] did on this album could work in a club, because they still contain the frequencies that physically move you and they have a structure.” And while the album includes the expected amount of rhythmic thrust, it also works a heady amount of sound experimentation into its eight productions. A case in point is the opener, “Hush,” which assumes the character of an industrial-ambient overture despite the presence of a locomotive chug.

But with the scene-setter having laid the issue to rest, the album turns muscular with the hellacious title track, which, powered by a martial techno pulse, roars like a thunderous festival raver for nine indomitable minutes. One imagines Ostgut Ton and Gravite devotees would be drawn to “Reversible” when its throbbing pulse and synth squeals are buried under so many layers of industrial-strength grime and soot. If one had to pick one Sounds For The Mute cut as the go-to track, it would have to be “The Truth About Robots,” a punishing ten-minute ride packed with hi-hats, sonar blips, squalls, and distorted voice samples. Adding to the music's delirious vibe, voices ricochet back and forth like lazers, and battering rhythms repeatedly advance and retreat.

“Hush” aside, the album's other prime example of Mr. Jones' favoured fusion of dancefloor and industrial-ambient is “Forced by Low Frequencies,” a rumbling colossus that breathes cold fire for five metallic minutes. But in closing the collection with the ferocious techno throwdown “Continuous Sounds,” Uittenbosch serves notice that, whatever Mr. Jones' artistic aspirations might be, the project's foundation remains techno.

July-August 2015