Djang San seems to have an infinite source of inspiration hidden in his pillow, he is one of those artists that don’t know breaks. The freedom that he gives to his creative impulse is not only reflected in the length of his discography but also it’s possible to observe it in his music. His music rotates around folk and travels around different styles, same thing about playing instruments, he plays many. The composition of his songs generally has the simplicity found in folk music, and a certain absence of cynicism that I think is what also triggers his freedom and confidence to produce all the music he makes weekly. These characteristics seem to be in all the layers and stages of Djang San’s music.
Eye.爱.Ai.I is Djang San’s latest album, his list of albums is long and I’m sure that not totally revealed, but it’s sure past the thirty six. This one is divided in two parts, and it’s only in digital format for now. Part One has seven songs, and Part Two has nine.
The sound of Eye.爱.Ai.I is raw in its surface, with its ends untouched, indie and analog, though there are electronic sounds and digital manipulations of the sound, but not enough to sound digital from end to end, commercial. The melodies and the harmonies are the main dish of this album, they are solid, they make a lot of sense, they flow easy without becoming cliches, staying authentic in the turns. The lyrics are heavy, they are honest, serious, and innocent too, which makes me feel uncomfortable because I am not used to this anymore, cynicism seems to be in my daily diet of information and music, so listening to some heartfelt reflections sang with pretty melodies isn’t so easy to handle without making me uncomfortable in my spot. Isn’t this sad?! … This is why it actually took me weeks to have the opened mind I needed to write about this album. The process to untangle me from that state of mind is still in development, and I will save you the drag of its details, I just will tell you this though, it’s been a while since I listened to music that questioned my ways and made it through my hard head in this way, and why it happened with this album is because the music that’s transporting these lyrics is good and forced me to take seriously the situation I was (am) in with the lyrics.
At times the style of Eye.爱.Ai.I reminds me of Latin rock, maybe because of the acoustic strings, or because of the folk vibes reinterpreted with tougher riffs, or the way that Djang San is managing the solution of his harmonies, or maybe just because Djang San is French and there’s more connection between European Latin music and South American Latin music than what I think (thought?). Or it’s just because of the mix of musical influences and genres which is what defines Latin rock.
“B.I.P 13 – 十三” is the song that makes me feel more uncomfortable so I must write about it. It conflicts me because of the subject, the attack in Paris’ last year, a horrible event for sure, and probably the most horrible in all music’s history, but personally I’m passed my level of tolerance for news and comments about terrorist attacks, this is a political personal opinion, but I feel like changing the channel when I hear people talking about terrorist attacks, not because I don’t care about the world but I think … well, my political opinion here is not relevant, what is important is that I’m not comfortable when I listen to this song, the use of news recordings creating the feeling of emergency it makes it harder for me, because my reaction to this kind of news. And then the reflections sang in it, I know and of course understand Djang San’s meaning, the absurdity of killing each other is evident, but personally I’m at a different stage about it, I don’t feel like crying up loud about it, so I don’t engage with his feeling. But I respect his opinion, and I also would like peace all around the world too. I’ve been thinking if he would say the same thing he wants to say in a different way maybe I would be more into this song, but first he can say whatever he wants in whatever way he wants to say it, and how much does it matter the way the information is delivered? Does the way you say something affect its meaning? … I have an answer for that, but I’ll leave it until here with this because you can find your answer by yourself, and if I made it to here with this song, then that makes this song worth more than a just a few listenings. And beyond the lyrics and the subject of the song there’s its music that is edgy in many ways, the dark vibe, the stressing cymbals and echoes, the Persian keys.
“The Past – 过去,” “The Present – 现在” (With Dick Marvel), and “The Future – 未来” (With Nora) are trilogy starring Djang San’s pipa accompanied by other ethnic sounds, the three songs are vast and colorful, right in the headphones and in the speakers, and maybe even more on the stage. They remind me of old and new songs and artists. And the remix of “The Past – 过去” by Nalc finishes the deal convincing that these are all great songs that can be soundtracks for many different moments.
Eye.爱.Ai.I has music of so many kinds and corners that can communicate with many types of listeners. The arrangements are delicate and the production of its sound is rough on its edges, indie and all-wheel, somehow wild. I think the word is real. If still is necessary to say it more clear, listening to Eye.爱.Ai.I with attention wake up feelings and it might make you think.