VA – Content Aware

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March 18th marks the NYC based imprints 10th release, “Content Aware”. A 10 track various artist compilation,

available on limited edition cassette and digital formats. The release will presumably be followed by a wave of global hysteria, a tectonic shift, and a brief period of peace on earth, before… well this is just a press release we can only see into the future so far.

In this self conscious age where delicately curated environments of aesthetic perfection set the stage for personal brands, “unique” and slick vignettes. Buildings exteriors, tattooed with logos, windows littered with product advertisements. Some motorist’s entire voting history are mapped out along bumpers like a journal. Without recalling your own lunch you know what some of your friends or family eat and drink each meal of the day. Even Chalkboards in front of cafes, double as art galleries, riddle contests, and stand-up acts.

Deepfake technology affords us access to manipulated celebrity and politician likeness, basking in the uncanny valley of our own making. Artificial intelligence serves up targeted ads, bespoke to our tastes and interest, mined from data we distribute like Hansel & Gretel’s breadcrumbs. Every surface considered and designed, all lines straight, all messages on target. Cybernetic feedback loops echoing into the chasm. In this embrace of being the product ourselves, we have reached Content Awareness.

This compilation celebrates diverse perspectives, from an international roster of artists who subvert the very medium itself.

Album Review

A ten-track comp to mark Jollies’s tenth release, Content Aware exists as a perfect reminder of where the wacko electronic label has been and points toward an equally wacko future. I’ve personally enjoyed every Jollies release I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on to a sublimely thorough extent, and Content Aware is no different. In fact, I’m only familiar with two (!) of the artists on it, Kritzkom and Asymmetrical Head, so that gives me an entire 80 percent of this thing to discover. And if that’s not a good reason to dive into a comp, I don’t know what is.

I mean, it’s really the best reason, especially if you trust the label putting the thing out. And I do. And it is. As usual, the lovely, dank, downtempo electro pulses with intense mood, and each artist makes themself at home on the tracklist. Francine Thirteen’s track is a nice vocal-led torch song, and Jap Kasai gets wildly playful on their quirky contribution. But the overarching aesthetic is fully in line with itself, making Content Aware the perfect tenth-release celebration for Jollies. There’s the uptempo crash of Sentry, the clicky pulse of Kritzkom, and the theatrical synth work of Private Grief, all Jollies tested, all Jollies approved. Why don’t you get in here and discover something for yourself, you savvy listener you?
- Ryan Masteller
Cassette Gods
May 21, 2021