Crab Sir Mojo by Jacob Morris
I have listened to many electronic and synth albums in my stead as critic for this site, and although each album uses the same basic components, they all stand out on their own in new and fantastic ways. Artist Jacob Morris, a native Australian, has combined pop, jazz, and orchestral synths to create his sophomore album, “Crab Sir Mojo,” an electronic, instrumental album that is fun, visionary, and expertly arranged.
The opening track, 'Circulation,' starts off with the unmistakable sound of jingle bells, then moves into a swift and funky beat that features smooth guitar work and catchy retro solos. Moving onto the next track, 'Toil and Trouble,' the listener is transported to a dreamy, altered state feels as though they are running through levels in an exhilarating video game. Transporting us even farther from reality is the third track, 'Bumps and Bruises,' which takes us on an adventure through space and the reaches beyond, complete with robotic vocals and futuristic synth arrangements.
In 'Ratchet Dirge,' Morris slows things down a bit and creates a mellow yet tenuous atmosphere with light keyboard work and soft melodies. The overall feel of the album is relaxing and ventures into the listener's subconscious to awaken the curiosity and profundity of the imagination. There are times when an electronic album can be harsh or grating, but Morris finds a way to sooth and comfort us while keeping the mood light and refreshing. The poppy piano that leads into 'Hasted MIDI Vow' steps back to unveil a theremin solo that is cool and unique, lending to the artists knowledge and talent when it comes to experimenting with different ways of instrumentation. The album close with 'Ceres,' a lovely, string laden track that almost reminds the listener of a lullaby, as the music is alluring and drifts gently throughout the mind.
I consider myself very fortunate to be able to experience the worlds that these musicians create, coupled with the fact that these albums come from all over the world. I am always eager to hear the many ways that every artist uses his or her own influences to motivate them into making something that can be shared with millions of people. I thoroughly enjoyed Jacob's album and I hope to see more from him in the future. Artists that can blend and fuse genres in exciting ways are always going to be on my radar, and I'm sure that I will be able to report back with a new and even more remarkable album from Jacob in the future.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing Jacob; check out his responses below!
Tell me a little bit about your background and why you started playing.
I went to a primary school that had a really enthusiastic music teacher, so I would say she was my initial exposure to performing music; I played recorder as was mandatory, I was in the choir and I branched off into playing the clarinet. I didn't really listen to music at home for most of my childhood, but it was so enjoyable to learn an instrument. I started to really write music late into high school on something of a whim; I was inspired by a classmate who could probably write an entire JRPG soundtrack in a lunch break. It all kind of snowballed from there, really.
What/ Who are your influences?
Unashamedly, video games are a primary influence for me. My brother and I were fanatics, so it's inevitable that all of the music left a big impression on me. There is such a huge history and diversity in it. In terms of artists outside of that, I would name Imogen Heap and Björk as influences. I admire their creativity and ability to push the envelope, but above all, their music speaks to me.
You experiment with several instruments and synthesizers on this album. What's your favorite way to do this?
A lot of what ends up in music is from quite simply just messing about. After producing for a while, you learn more productive ways of doing it, but you really do just need to throw stuff out to see what will work. This applies to instrumentation as well as fundamental things like melody, harmony and rhythm. I would describe the process itself as a combination of experience and whim. There are no rules to messing about and that's part of why musical discoveries are so satisfying to me.
Did you intend to give the album a jazzy, relaxed fell or that happen organically?
Bit of both, really. I didn't start writing all of the songs with an album in mind, but the ones that I felt were bestallkindoffit into the theme of what Crab Sir Mojo is. I worked on most of the album across a long period of time, so the tracks kindofinfluencedeachother in creating a cohesive body of work as they were being developed.
How do you feel about the digital revolution in music and has it helped or hindered your success?
As a whole, technology has massively improved the options of songwriters. Things like home recording and software synthesizers were nonexistent in the recent past and I consider it a blessing that I wasn't born in that generation. CD sales dropping and digital downloads not rising enough to compensate for the gap are worrying trends, but in the grand scheme of things, music isn't going to go away, so I'm not particularly frightened. I certainly wouldn't be able to produce and release an album independently without the digital revolution, so I think it'd be a little hypocritical of me to criticize it.