Jokatech – Standing Still Symphony

URL: http://jokatech.webs.com/

Jokatech’s progressive style takes experimental jazz, some traditional structures, a fascination with multimedia hybridization, and sound collages together and forms a viable and compelling form meshed with one of a kind literary flair and performing ability that reduces multi-syllabic lines to verbal rubble. Despite his relatively obscure status, Jokatech, a stage name for Jason Addas, has been writing and refining his skills since the early years of the 21st century and has five albums worth of material under his belt. The latest album from his creative brain, a full length release entitled Standing Still Symphony, brings the better of two great musical worlds to listeners – seriousness of theme and a willingness to challenge yourself and find growth through that effort. Jokatech’s production style has its own artiness that reaches beyond the ken of most hip hop songs.

Standing Still Symphony opens with the song “And Now We Wait (Intro)”. The title alone hints that Jokatech has conceptual ambitions driving the structure and songwriting on this album, but his larger structure and thematic arc dominating the album isn’t the real story here. Instead, it can serve as an excellent introduction for the novice and longtime fan alike to his sonic agenda on the new release. He breaks the track into two halves and devotes the first part to his lyrical inventions while indulging his musical side. “My Greatest Opponent” is centered much more on Jokatech’s lyrics than any sort of wide-eyed musical experimentation, but it is clear that his ear and instincts alike remain ever sensitive to providing his texts with complementary musical backing. The first of two extended pieces, “Internally Eternally” will challenged experienced and novice listeners alike, but one thing is clear even after a first listen – Jokatech has an unquestionable talent for extending himself like this. There isn’t any point during the song’s fifteen minutes and change running time that you want to walk away.

“Brother Muhammad – Tszss” is far from a customary in memoriam. Jokatech’s tribute to the life and legend of multi-time heavyweight champion and cultural force Muhammad Ali relies on the man’s own words, via sound clips, for much of its ultimate success, but its merits go further. Jokatech obviously labored to get this right and his own contributions surrounding offerings from the champ strengthen the piece as a whole. “Standing Still”, the album’s nominal title cut, has some of the same smoky ambiance heard earlier on the album, but it’s much more fleshed out here than before.

The musical and verbal qualities fueling the success of these songs place Jokatech a rung or two above the average performer. He takes on difficulty and handles it without breaking a sweat, he makes the familiar sound like something new, and dispatches it all with a tangible personality that overcomes even the briefest performance lulls. This is music that deserves a large audience and the best possible forum for exposure. If there’s any justice in the world, these two new songs will herald a new beginning for Jokatech’s career bringing him the accolades and attention he deserves.

9 out of 10 stars

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/jokatech

Scott Wigley