Switched On – JVXTA: Euston Blues (Scissor and Thread)

by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

JVXTA is presented as a relatively anonymous DJ project – but it turns out to be the London-based DJ Charles Field, who runs his own label Hardmatter. This release, slightly confusingly, references a London area in the title but is released on Brooklyn-based imprint Scissor and Thread. Field wanted it to work across a number of genres, utilising elements of deeper and classic house, improvisation and experimentation – all with an ambient finish.

What’s the music like?

Euston Blues has a very satisfying ebb and flow, down and up. We start in relative stillness, with the murky textures of No One Needs To Know, which blossoms into the classic deep house of Hold On, equal parts Detroit and Chicago in style but with a piano profile that takes on an improvised life of its own.

Water Temple goes deep too, before reaching for the stars with richly voiced keyboards – after which a nocturnal piano solo takes over. The city mood continues as a saxophone leads Lost In Place, another classy house number, and then to Beyond, which has the thick ambience of a city at night. The Stolen Child adds a strong sense of mystery, piano and flute duelling in the heights, before the closing title track, a broadly conceived nocturnal sketch of eleven minutes. It ends the album in softer ambience, though a busy drum track gives it energy three minutes in.

Does it all work?

Most of the time. A lot of Euston Blues is mood music, meaning it doesn’t always hold melodic interest, but it is never less than descriptive.

Is it recommended?

It is. Subtle on the surface but giving more reward to closer listening, this is a deep and evocative piece of work from a talented producer.



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