Armand Jakobsson, better known as DJ Seinfeld, has finally released his debut album, Time Spent Away From U.
For initiates of the murky/wonderful world of Swedish House music DJ Seinfeld is a welcome persona at any live show. His previous releases under a different moniker, the weightier sounding Rimbaudian, were more somber, darker releases on Soundcloud – they explored a kind of glitchy character of 90’s deep house, but as if dug up on a cassette tape from a time capsule – there was crackle and fizz across a buzz of samples and beats. And we learned back then of the love affair with second hand samples, and distorted 808s that DJ Seinfeld would come to explore in the future.
Later, Jakobsson would release EPs that were a little rough round the ages, but still warm, heartfelt expressions. Here, there are those same signature sounds that fans will have come to expect, but they’re served with a sometimes surprising newness. DJ Seinfeld semi-protests the label of being a lo-fi house musician, but the characterful hisses and antiquated samples are devices that give him away. He clearly enjoys leaving fingerprints on digital surfaces, and the gritty use of skipping drum machines express a natural idiosyncrasy that others contrive toward.
There are moments of gloss across the album, where early ‘90s sheen becomes almost too much, and it’s in those passages, served on a swirl of whirring cassette tape, which sound like they offered Jakobsson the fastest route to DJ Seinfeld’s heart, and so to the listeners ear – and the dance floor’s inclination to old-fashioned fun.
If all of this sounds a little gimmicky; here’s this persona playing with cranky old samples and adding the contrivance of crackles and hisses – it’s not gimmicky. Promise. There’s a genuine affection for the experience of togetherness that this genre brings, and DJ Seinfeld accesses some kind of communal moment, a kind of ‘you have to have heard it’ that we’ve all shared on those magical nights when the DJ really hits stride.
There are moments, like “U Hold Me Without Touch” that capture the essence of the whole collection – there’s something deeply satisfying in this track – turned too loud, distorting at the top end, delivering that weightless emotion of a nocturnal exploration.
A thought should be offered to the duration of these tunes. Jakobsson knows how to let things breathe, he affords tracks an average of six minutes, but then he also knows when it’s time to press on with the sequence and shake the floor again. This is a House party, built on affection, a little affectation, and very real, substantive soul.
Closing track “U” with the sample of Bob Geldof’s description of universal grief, experienced at the break-up of his marriage, is an arresting moment that brings the heart to the throat. It’s a brave sample to include in a generally light album – and the potency of Geldof’s words will linger long after the tune stops.
For making the dance floor fun again, and for putting heart back into the beats, we award DJ Seinfeld an extra hour on the strobe light rental.
HURRY – LISTEN – DJ SEINFELD