Jonathan Cavier – Blue Room Remix
The Nico Issig-helmed remaster and remix of Jonathan Cavier’s 2017 release Blue Room is a case where an already great album is expanded and enhanced thanks to collaborative effort. It is unusual to revisit an album in such a comprehensive way so soon after its initial release, but Jonathan Cavier’s life and his musical endeavors up to this point reveal an artist with scant interest in following the expectations of others. It results in more tracks being added to an already potent running order, more physical and emotive vocal performances, and a general turn in sound that underscores Cavier’s modernity while keeping close to his across the board command of traditional songwriting strengths. Blue Room, without any remaster or remix, already ranked among the year’s most interesting releases, but taking this step catapults Cavier’s second solo outing into discussion as being one of 2017’s best musical efforts from anyone, any genre.
The title song begins things with a hard-hitting AOR sound built around Cavier’s emotive voice and warm, yet jagged, guitar. His ability to seamlessly bring gritty six string work together with appealing melodic structures is no small feat; countless other contemporaries and erstwhile peers attempt this sort of fusion of genres without even half the success Cavier achieves with the approach. He jettisons the electric guitars for a decidedly lower key sound on the song “When You Come Around”. It has a thoughtful lyric with an equally considered vocal that never stops Cavier from taking on an airy approach with his performance. There’s a fair amount of instruments working through this song, but it never comes off cluttered and the spaces in the music allow it to breathe freely. “Hollywood” has a nice, light touch and great energy without ever embracing any guitar flash until well into the song’s second half and, even then, it never comes across as self-indulgent.
Acoustic and electric guitars help “Phoenix” weave its spell, but the drumming is equally important thanks to the emphatic tone it strikes. A strong chorus will linger in listener’s memories long after the last note. Cavier ‘s “Everything in Our Dreams” takes a more orchestral approach to the guitars than many of the album’s songs, focuses largely on acoustic instrumentation, and relegates the electric guitar work to a secondary importance in the mix. “I Believe” swells into being and hums along at a steady level for three and a half minutes. It’s one of the album’s few songs that abandon electric guitar altogether in favor of a more delicate approach. The closer “Thank You Letter” is the second of Cavier’s two new songs added to Blue Room and brings muscular electric guitar back for a final spin under the spotlight. This is melodic rock without any pandering or premeditation undercutting its sincerity. Sincerity is definitely a key component of what makes Blue Room work in its original form and this remix, but this new release makes a strong case that Jonathan Cavier’s artistry is increasing exponentially.