[sic] Magazine

Jupiter-C – 001 EP

Ever since the release of their ever-mesmeric “Holiday” a few of years back, [sic] have been championing the cause of dark electro-pop project Jupiter-C, a Manchester/Liverpool duo now based in London. And, now joining the likes of Geoff Barrow‘s BEAK> and the none-too-dissimilar The KVB on Barrow’s own Invada imprint, Ashiya Eastwood and David Kane release their long-awaited debut EP, which comprises three original tracks and two heavyweight remixes.

Kicking things off and originally one half of a AA cassingle released on Ramber Records, “Locust” first makes a welcome reappearance, overlapping drones ranging from the oppressive to the optimistic clouding around pulsing snare programmes so sharp they’ll have your eardrums out. Plenty of sheet metal left in the mix, the spectre of roboticised post-punk too is balanced by ghostly vocal loops, strong guitar melodies withered in turn by blasts of outright noise. Bleaker still, the minimal repeats of “Pleasure” follow, the track’s emotionless – yet svelte – darkwave manoeuvres Germanic in feel until they fill out with drones and stuttering drum machines, dream-pop synths eventually leading to an improbable-but-triumphant crescendo. A reworked version of a long-time live favourite, the downbeat “Critical Mass” then becomes a masterclass in slo-mo drops, buzzed-out neck-popping echoing to the sound of Ashiya’s chilly visions of the near future as they bounce of the angles of concrete brutalism. It’s a truly hypnotic listen, the Jupiter-C craft now already having passed event horizon and inextricably drawn to oblivion … the inevitable crash a spectator sport in Ballardian circles.

A skilled remixer can, of course, make anything sound good. A better one will know when he’s already working with quality material and simply complement it with his own signature. Thus anything but present to make up the numbers, the nine-minute “Another Place” (yet to be released in its unmolested state) is treated by former tour-mate and electronic artist William Doyle, aka East India Youth – reputedly the final outing for him under this guise. Allowing Ashiya’s vocal to retain its shimmer through a cut-and-paste confetti of FX, the result has the cool detachment of a lost New Order missive. A growing sense of claustrophobia accompanies a switch to a half-buried spoken-word heard only at the edge of sanity, the track’s eventual disintegration into a surging art installation from the hallways of hell given a bittersweet sting in the tail by tender piano. “Critical Mass” returns to close the EP under the almost unrecognisable direction of ex-Pop Will Eat Itself man and current soundtrack composer Clint Mansell, his aquatic and Lynchian simmer of tension and release just as unsettling when set to the tick of a metronome as it is to some lonely sci-fi chatter. A surgeon working on the business-end of a chipper, he somehow then manages to stitch the blissed-out pieces back together into a lobotomised version of the original.

Worth the wait, 001 however feels – and numerically looks like – just the beginning. We may now have lift off, but this is a ship destined for the stars.

Best track: “Critical Mass”

~The 001 EP is released March 3rd 2017 via Invada. To celebrate the release, Jupiter_C will play a special show with various guests that night at The White Hotel in Salford.~