JASSS – A World Of Service [Ostgut Ton]

Originally from a small town in the North of Spain, Silvia Jiménez Alvarez aka JASSS began her journey through her vast obsession with music; however, it wasn’t until she arrived in the German capital of Berlin that her wide range of influences were brought to life, embodying a switch-hitting attitude which has subsequently lent itself to blurring the lines within modern electronic music.

As a major innovator, JASSS has been integral to this exponential period of hybridized dance, from her industrial leaning, experimental first album Weightless released on iDEAL Recordings in Sept 17’, to her more weighty productions, heard on important London imprint AD 93, traversing mutated electro, techno and alien electronics. Now comes the producer’s most complete and thought-provoking work to date; an LP released on Berlin based label, Ostgut Ton. 

Most certainly a personal metamorphosis, A World Of Service opens up a wider conversation around the depths of human behaviour, consumption and the barriers of language with JASSS’ voice acting as the main protagonist; in her own words “Every track, in some way, has to do with having feelings that you are unable to articulate.”

An unlikely candidate, but maybe my favourite track of the album is opening sequence “Birds You Can Name” – with its illuminating synths improvised over a layer of coiling atmospherics and deep-rooted bass; slowly painting a canvas of introspection and complexity. It’s in “Camelo”, though, where Silvia’s wide-eyed vocals are first introduced, published against a back-drop of industrial noise, reminiscent of her earlier work, albeit far more commanding. Through the lens of heartbreak and longing in “Luis” is where her quantum leap into the world of alt-pop begins; it’s essence addictive with beauty found in it’s subtle sonic nuances and vivid storytelling. 

Described in the press releases as “pandemic-era trip hop”, the title track “A World Of Service”  encompasses many of the album’s themes, backed-up by a music video directed by Sander Houtkruijer, who has worked with artists including Floating Points, Leifur James and Giant Rooks. The lyrics and accompanying visuals feel suffocating; sprawling synths yearning for connection, internal and external dialogues both seemingly at play. JASSS’ poignant vocals and Sander’s visual cues explore the current human condition and technological barriers we face, relevant now more than ever.

Fragments of mechanical noise transform and reshape themselves in “Vapor Detro”, nestled among a dystopian backdrop of existential discourse. There’s a feeling of unfinishedness here, but maybe that’s what Alverez intended. The record comes to a close with a jarring, emo-inspired melt-down, as the Spanish born artist yells out her discontentment in “Wish”.

Through her varied, often introspective productions to her no-holds barred approach to DJing, JASSS’ story feels unique and true; an untold story, with hints of nostalgia thrown in for good measure, and I for one am completely here for it. 

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