Exposé Online banner

Jack o' the Clock — Repetitions of the Old City - I
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-16

Repetitions of the Old City - I Cover art

Sometimes music will hit you just at the right time, when the combination of circumstance, mood, and sound just works, and sometimes the reaction is so subjective it can be hard to work out exactly why it works. But I’m not here just to tell you that Repetitions of the Old City - I really works for me — I need to give reasons. If you’ve heard any of the previous releases from Jack o’ the Clock, or have read our reviews, you know what to expect: music that is largely but not exclusively acoustic, elaborate vocal arrangements, touches of electronics, convoluted arrangements, impeccable playing, and instrumentation that ventures well outside the norms of conventional pop or even progressive rock. The use of hammer dulcimer and bassoon in particular sets this band apart from any other on the planet. Some of the reference points that come up include Gentle Giant (especially around Acquiring the Taste) in the violin work and its interplay with mallet instruments and acoustic guitar; Dirty Projectors in the unconventional vocal harmonies and occasional electronic treatments; Henry Cow for literate lyrics and 20th Century artsiness; Bent Knee and Cheer-Accident for unconventional structures; and so on — this is the most interesting combination of sounds I’ve heard in a long time. But in spite of the uniqueness, the music is accessible and friendly, rarely dissonant, and all-around fun to listen to. The production is clean and very present, and while there’s not a note out of place in spite of the difficulty of the parts, it’s full of life and not so precise that it sounds artificial. Repetitions of the Old City - I cements Jack o’ the Clock’s position as one of the most creative American bands going. Some bands can be admired without being enjoyed, but this group manages both.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Fred Frith, Jack o' the Clock

More info
http://jackotheclock.bandcamp.com/album/repetitions-of-the-old-city-i

Latest news

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Percy Jones - Tunnels – Jones, who is probably best known for his impeccable and highly energized fretless bass work in Brand X, brings that pedigree to this, his newest project band. Also featured in the lineup are drummer...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues