Album review: DJINN’s ‘Transmission’ commands an increasingly colourful palette

The Breakdown

Transmission perfectly commands an increasingly colourful palette, an irresistible conduit to what could be termed DJINN’s equally chasmic sound
Rocket Recordings 9.0

Succeeding two massively different but similarly mercurial and explorative releases as their respective parent bands, Goat and Hills, DJINN summon vivid, revitalised spirits on their third full release Transmission – their second on Rocket Recordings after the self-titled DJINN release.

For all the quintessentially DJINN, inherently genre-melting fusions that Transmission pours together, the duo also (as ever) push through to an almighty plane of transcendent sound.

Experienced on Transmission’s ancestors Avant De Servir and their self-titled release, the duo’s overblown notes and crazed sax dirges pervade here in heightened fever and naked, artistic expression. This is exhibited superbly on “Sun Ooze” and “Creator of Creation”: the former a vibrant plethora of percussion clattering through the sax maelstrom, which furrows a through-line from preceding material, albeit a wholly developed beacon of spiritual sound. The latter expands on the jazz effusing, piano-sax partnership on 2019’s Djinn & Djuice via a groove-centred dirge, fitted with shamanic vocal incantations.

Yet, discontent with the flurry of elements already established, DJINN add bouts of mantric, Arbete Och Fritid-style freak-folk dissonance; instead though, they channel it into their own potent, uber-melodic blend. Such a blissful exploration of flows ethereally through “Nights With Kurupi”, seamlessly rather than busily jammed together, in a mystical journey provoked by incandescent flute and mellifluous, abrasively thumbed guitar.  

Transmission cover art

The title track also punctures a stratospheric, aural seal as DJINN break through to a heavenly new echelon. Here, pastoral, ethereal vocals and mellotron issue an epiphany-like stupor, through a hazy siphoning of Popul Vuh: a Krautrock branch neither Goat nor Hills had plucked from, and entirely new to DJINN’s wheel of influences. Such an addition to their myriad sound proves that this musical deity can absorb countless, perhaps any influences, and transform them anew into something refreshing, innovative and stirring.

Seemingly improvisational sound collage-type sketches abound throughout Transmission, emphasising a tribal, meditative experimentalism – bountiful percussion plink-plonking across “Creator Of Creation” amongst the vibrant, sporadic sax effusions, the groove-undulation of the piano, and psychedelic-imbued vocals.

DJINN’s totemic sound collage elements continue with “Urm The Mad”, exuding a satisfying magnificence, in perhaps their ultimate usage. A slowly-brewing, meditative throng of chimes and other accoutrements lead cathartically onto a flurried conflict of striking drums and spiralling, malevolent sax – in other words, the Swedish psych-folk-jazz troupe at their incredible, dizzying zenith.

Climactic, burgeoning finale “Orpheus” further accents the newly introduced veneer of the record, as ruminative and brooding strings produce an eerie though overwhelmingly absorbing aura. These again hint at the cacophony evoked by Arbete Och Fritid, though not – as they are so loath to do – in a way which pastiches or mimics them. Rather, “Orpheus” strikes a droning, captivating clamour, entombed by darting flute sections, generating an intrinsically DJINN finale.

Transmission perfectly commands an increasingly colourful palette, an enriching conduit to what could be termed DJINN’s equally chasmic sound (though really theirs is far too elusive and mercurial to be pinned down as such).

DJINN’s Transmission is out on Rocket Recordings now; you can order your copy here.

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