George and Jonathan - George and Jonathan III
Written by Enoch Kim (@ProCreateEnoch)
In 2010, George and Jonathan was unveiled to the world and they brought with them the most arrogantly titled album ever: The Best Music.
In all fairness they were kinda right.
Their blend of infectious, funky melodies and densely textured production immediately set them as chiptune superstars and rightly so. George and Jonathan showed themselves masters of delightful contradictions. Simple melodies backed by densely layered production. Sample-based instrumentation coerced to emit velvety FM textures. Tracker music that’s obsessed with funk rhythms and pitch bends. Two albums later none of this has changed.
After a brief departure into more EDM flavored territory in Beautiful Lifestyle, G&J marks a return back to the style that made them so beloved in the scene, while folding in stylistic evolutions from Beautiful Lifestyle. Gone are the brief detours into brostep and the four-on-the-floor rhythm so signature to modern EDM, back are the intricate funk rhythms and complex time signatures with a brief lapse into breakcore of Rock to compliment its composition. Gone also is the rather loud mixing style, which to be fair was always there. George and Jonathan wisely brought in Gabe Liberti, who previously co-produced and mixed + mastered for Anamanaguchi, to mix the album. The result is a poppier, more dynamic mix than ever before that compliments the yummy textured soundscape that’s signature of George and Jonathan. Brought back from Beautiful Lifestyle are the use of EDM drums and breaks, creating a fun contrast to FM-funk inspired arrangement. George and Jonathan also seems to have gotten more skilled in arrangement. Each track is densely packed with dozens of samples going off at once, nothing overpowering the others. This is in full effect in tracks like A Brief Moment of Clarity, Rock, and Canopy.
Clearly this is not the same George and Jonathan circa The Best Music. They’ve changed, they’ve improved. Yet they’re still the George and Jonathan we love. Each sample and instrument are so different from each other yet fit so perfectly, creating a sampledelical landscape. Melodies are mellow and sentimentally happy, as if Jean-Jacques Perrey suddenly wanted to make dance music, and are instantly memorable. Above all, George and Jonathan refuse to take themselves seriously, from the goofy audience sample on R U IN 2 IT? to the entirety of Puppy Love, which makes it even easier to keep the album on repeat forever.
George and Jonathan have done it yet again. Not four months in and George and Jonathan III is already the feel good summerjams album of the year as far as I’m concerned. Everything about G&JIII works from the sampledelic production to the earworm-inducing melodies. Will another album come and take its reign later down the year? Doubt it, George and Jonathan made The Best Music. How the hell do you beat that?
Grade: A Buy It
(Note: Go listen to the album on http://georgeandjonathan.com/! There’s cool 3D piano roll visualizations for each song + a really cute animation for Puppy Love)