John Moods

The Essential John Moods

Mansions and Millions MAMI15MC
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Alone in the world, we find ourselves. Inside ourselves, we find something to share with the world.

The Essential John Moods, a solo album in all senses of the word, is what Jonathan Jarzyna of Fenster found in himself during a summer spent hiking along the Iberian coast, and he now wants to share it with you. A mini-guitar on his back and a copy of GarageBand on his phone allowed Jarzyna to record songs each evening as he arrived in a new town after a long day traveling by foot. (He did, admittedly, add live drum tracks and some additional instrumentation back in Berlin.) The album preserves this peripatetic feeling, each song relating to the next as one city or village relates to its neighbor, its unique situation contrasting with the shared architectural vernacular. Blipping instrumental interludes (“Trainride,” “Pontevedra,” “Coastal Way”) even capture the disordered, delirious feeling of transit hubs and the sleep-bleared mystery of waking on an unfamiliar road.

“I just came alive completely” are the first words Jarzyna murmurs on “New Spring,” invoking the spirit of the album. He speaks not of the liveliness of manic activity, but the heightened, tender sensitivity of presence. It’s a fullness of living captured by the transition from the lush, jangling groove of “The Weight” to the spacious contemplation of “Pawns.” The dreamy echo of the 60s’ and 70s’ soft rock and folk troubadours suffuses the album, and the organ-soaked “Where In The World” even has a psychedelic tinge. But the overall effect is quite contemporary, from the back-of-the-nightbus lounge funk of “Take It Home” (featuring an amazing turn from arch-crooner Sean Nicholas Savage) to the mournful cupboard jazz of “Almost Gone.” “Dark Wall” sounds like a honkytonk ramble alongside a robot tentatively learning to play lap steel. “Leap of Love,” an early album highlight, passes over the listener in shimmering waves, a love song which remains a mystery even to its creator.

In the meditation tape coda “Relax Your Foot,” Jarzyna selects the perfect sample to encapsulate The Essential John Moods’ hopeful receptivity: the late Professor Carl Sagan reminding us that “despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness.”

John Moods: The Essential John Moods

Dance With The Night John Moods 2' 45''
Leap Of Love John Moods 3' 48''
New Spring John Moods 3' 31''
The Weight John Moods 3' 13''
Take It Home (feat. Sean Nicholas Savage) John Moods 3' 10''
Where In The World John Moods 4' 38''
Train Ride John Moods 2' 26''
Dark Wall John Moods 2' 32''
Pawns John Moods 2' 48''
Almost Gone John Moods 3' 56''
Coastal Way John Moods 3' 14''
Take Care John Moods 1' 44''
Relax Your Foot John Moods 2' 52''

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