Jaw Gems + Moonchild
w/ Mob Barber
Saturday, June 3, 2017
21+ $10 ADV // $10 DOS
Jaw Gems, an electronic outfit from Portland, Maine, is a collective of young, experimental producers bringing beat-music – traditionally programmed and played on samplers – to a live band setting. The mesmerizing result is a harmonic convergence.
Combine legendary beat-makers like J Dilla and Flying Lotus with indie rock and electronic icons like Deerhunter and Washed Out, then add Radiohead’s dreamy ambience and you begin to approach the sound of Jaw Gems.
“Dilla is the common thread for how we all met and began playing together,” says keyboardist Hassan Muhammad. “Not many people in Portland knew about him seven years ago, so through various friends we were all pointed out to each other and we were blessed with the opportunity to hold a weekly residency at a bar, playing all the stuff we liked and getting increasingly weird.”
Since their start in 2009, the band has been exploring sonic and rhythmic ideas that emphasize interlaced melodies and heavy grooves. First outfitted solely with dueling vintage synthesizers, a drummer, and an electric bassist, Jaw Gems have now incorporated a Roland sp404 and the Juno 106 analog synth, going on to employ the beat- repeating, sample-warping technologies of the present to help create their wall of sound. Armed with new gear, Jaw Gems were able to evolve their beats, trigger intricate samples, and alter sounds in an increasingly advanced way. “You can do so much with these devices, and we all have our own ways of using them,” says bassist Andrew Scherzer.
“In August of 2016, Jaw Gems delivered their second album, HEATWEAVER, via STS9’s 1320 Records. The 14-tracks create a thickly layered transcendental auditory world – a meticulously crafted collection grounded in a modern electronic aesthetic. HEATWEAVER melds neck-breaking, hip-hop synthesizers and nostalgic atmospheres, while simultaneously touching on elements of psychedelic funk, neo-soul, and punk rock.” Jaw Gems likes to keep their recording process relaxed to allow for creative diversity.
Setting up shop in a makeshift home studio, the band hunkers down and lets their songs come to life. “We like to make a retreat out if it,” says drummer DJ Moore, noting that all of the musicians have been involved in other projects. “Making music is how we chill, and the album naturally unfolded once we were all committed to being in the same place together for some time.” The title itself came from thinking of the album visually. “We thought about what images the music evoked throughout the whole process, and when someone said “heat weaver,” we all felt it embodied our sound,” he says.
Put four beatmakers in a room together for a week, and the outpouring of ideas could be endless. “As we develop as individual musicians each of our sounds morph and evolve in different ways, so when we come together to record we all bring something new to build upon,” Moore says. “Our creative process is never the same,” says keyboardist and sampler Tyler Quist. “We tend to refine our ideas in rehearsal, figuring out how to play them as a band, but most of our ideas start off as a beat one of us made. On HEATWEAVER, we let some of our beats stay in a more bedroom beat format, and others we revamped to sound a lot more live.” In this case, Jaw Gems was left with a solid compilation attesting to their evolution as tenacious genre-bending producers. “Jaw Gems have done the magic trick of delivering a thoroughly listenable instrumental album that you can also sing along to,” says electronic musician Daedelus.
Perhaps it’s this uninhibited sound that has also attracted the likes of other notable musicians. T3 of J Dilla’s Slum Village calls HEATWEAVER “mad fresh.” Lettucedrummer Adam Deitch says, “The swing that J Dilla made famous on an MPC beat machine in the late ‘90s is embedded in Jaw Gems’ musical DNA, just as much as soul and funk. They have created a psychedelic, jazz-rooted, West African feeling.”
Lyle Divinsky of Colorado’s The Motet has declared them his “new favorite band” and describes their sound as “a completely unique brew of hip-hop, jazz, funk, avant-garde, and classical music, steeped in originality and psychedelia.”
Since the release of their debut album, Blades Plural, Jaw Gems has gone on to share stages with icons such as Flying Lotus at L.A’s legendary Low End Theory, STS9, Lettuce, Daedelus, and many more. Visit JAWGEMS.COM to join their mailing list and stay in the loop about upcoming tour dates.
“With only a couple of albums under their belt – 2012’s Be Free and 2014’s Please Rewind – horn/reed players Andris Mattson, Max Bryk, and Amber Navran of the jazz and soul trio Moonchild have built a considerable following among both the neo-soul-hungover crowd and traditional jazz lovers who don’t mind the genre’s evolution. For much of this, we have lead singer Amber Navran to thank, whose voice whistles and whooshes in and out of the band’s soul claps, horn melodies, and synth shades. This is most evident on Please Rewind’s “Don’t Wake Me,” “Just A Minute,” and “Nobody,” on which Navran’s voice evokes Erykah Badu-esque charm, but with a vocal-defying soprano that’s almost too cool for jazz and too controlled for soul. An arresting voice like hers knows no boundaries, and her bandmates Max and Andris create lush templates to adapt to any genre while still maintaining a jazz aesthetic. The end result is an infallible cross-breed of lush boom bap and soul power, aligning with Moonchild’s orbit. It’s no wonder artists like Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Robert Glasper, James Poyser, Jazzy Jeff, 9th Wonder, Giles Peterson, and Leela James have been singing their praises.”
-Eric Tullis, Art Of Cool Festival 2015
Mob Barber is a Burlington based jazz/fusion quintet that features original compositions. The project is new to the Burlington scene, however all members have played in numerous groups in the local area for over 10 years. Instrumentation features Andrew Bedard on drums, Harry Bonish on mandolin, Matt Harpster on guitar, Matty “Snacks” Parillo on trumpet and Brent Thomas on bass.
Andrew Bedard – Drums
Harry Bonish – Mandolin
Matt Harpster – Guitar
Matty “Snacks” Parillo – Trumpet
Brent Thomas – Bass