Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Album: Jiggy - Translate

Jiggy Translate

Info: Jiggy seamlessly fuse a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with forward thinking innovation in an exciting way that connects with audiences worldwide. Formed in 2014 by percussionist Robbie Harris, Jiggy have grown into a phenomenal eight piece live outfit. The formation of musicians from backgrounds in, traditional Irish, Indian folk, electronic and funk music has naturally evolved into a unique soundscape that instantly draws listeners to the music.

Jiggy has forged a sound very much their own, fusing vocal lilting (port a' bhéil) & Indian Konnakol, Irish traditional music, hip hop dance grooves, world music rhythms and harmonies. Audience can expect a thrilling live set of original music and traditional dance tunes. The band have become something of an internet sensation, with their track 'King of the Fairies' clocking up over eight million views. With Irish traditional music as a starting point Harris set up Jiggy to explore Indian grooves in tandem with the high-energy Irish music while adding a dash of modern beats and textures.

Translate opens with a haunting sean-nós vocal from singer Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin on 'Anach Cuain', which precedes the first introduction to sounds from the East which immediately invokes curiosity in the listener. On 'Taraka' the mystery unfolds with the sound of Buddhist monks chanting and a highly unusual vocal style before the track departs into a drum and bass space that is given additional energy by the uptempo flute-playing.

Their hugely successful track 'King of the Fairies' comes next, very much a melding of the old world and contemporary electronic and hip-hop beats, the introduction of the fiddle at the 50-second mark to the backdrop of a thudding bass-line and percussion carrying you off into the mythical ether which Jiggy seem to be effortlessly able to create.

Another early highlight arrives in the form of 'Ócam an Phríosúin', it's rhythmic motion and soft vocal develop into a hypnotic trance, with twinkling keys conjuring images of the wisping sparks from a fire. 'An Capall Dubh' takes this sound further, and drives into a more mellow underbelly of Jiggy's sound, a very rough electronic nod for these two songs would be Four Tet or St. Germain, obviously minus the instrumentation that is.

After the swinging and appropriately laid-back feel of 'Laethanta Saoire' comes another key track on Translate, and possibly my favourite at this very moment, 'Dying of the Light', it is groove-tastic and despite the early delicate nature of the strings and light percussion it packs a move-inducing punch. 

One of Jiggy's strengths on this LP is the control of energy and mood, on 'Drowsy Maggie' they provide an instrumental interlude which has a calming effect, and whilst it is not required, enables the listener to absorb what has come before and appreciate what is to follow.

'Head Rush' again sees us witness a perfectly connected adhesion of Indian and Irish traditions, with the duelling vocal at its opening making way for a somnolent drum-beat and downtempo strings, it's a slow groover and it works so well as a whole. Of the remaining songs on the 15-track record the cinematic and grandiose 'I'm With You', and the return to the album's haunting opening, 'Éanna' are particularly engaging.

It's a lot to take in in your first listen or two, and Translate isn't merely an album to be listened to, it's a journey to be undertaken, at times dizzying as a result of the many worlds we are brought to (this is a very good complaint), here Jiggy have created one of the most adventurous, experimental and imaginative Irish albums of 2017.

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