All Songs Considered Blog
Wed July 11, 2012
Jacques Greene: From The Club To The Mainstream And Back
Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:15 pm
No single artist epitomizes bass music's stealth infiltration of the mainstream like Jacques Greene. "Bass music" is a catch-all phrase used these days to describe the flood of innovation emerging from the British rave scene. Jacques (and, no, that's not his real name) is actually from Montreal, but he contributed the best track to Radiohead's King of Limbs remix compilation, and got an earful from Azealia Banks in the rapper's "212" video. His own "Another Girl" was arguably the most accessible example of bass music's signature move last year — reconfiguring R&B samples as the emotional center of otherwise next-level rhythms. Fittingly, it joined "212" on NPR Music's Favorite 100 songs of 2011.
Jacques Greene is about to release his second 12" of 2012, a three-track effort called Ready that's due July 16 on the Washington, D.C.-based 3024 label, and we're stoked to premiere the first non-radio rip of the title track. "Ready" is a bit of a departure for Greene — there's no chipmunk chorus this time around. Instead, the vocals are blurred and buried deep in the mix, reminiscent of the reclusive British DJ Burial. It's less emotional, more ominous. What I love about it is the way Greene establishes an almost grayscale garage beat — muffled kick drums, laced with static — then uses colorful splashes of synth to take the song in an unexpected direction. In that sense, "Ready" differs from Burial's tunes, which — like their creator — stick to the shadows as much as possible.
Still, Jacques isn't courting the spotlight on "Ready" in the same way he did on "Another Girl" or 2010's "(Baby I Don't Know) What You Want." After a year-long stint as a bass music ambassador, he's stepping back into his natural environment: the club.