Let me begin by saying this.
The debut album, In Bloom, by 7-piece Danish band Djeff showcases a band striving for reinvention and recreation and is one of the best albums you’ll hear from Scandinavia in 2017
I write this early so you can press play now rather than read through my words.
If you’re still here, let me explain why?
Based in Silkeborg / Copenhagen, Djeff is an ensemble cast of unique perspectives. Their approach to the project finds space for each member; Keshia Christiansen – Christoffer Holm Clausen – Rasmus Riis Sitarz – Christian Holm Clausen – Mads Sigaard – Shabnam Motahari – Martin Møller, to give their voice in their own unique, musical language.
The gentle opener Set Me Free, feels like a gentle walk in a garden as our host greets us with a spoken word montage before leading us the groove filled forest of #2 Eternal Laws. Adorned with a D’Angelo lick, soulful vocals and rounded with an impassioned Black preacher speech. It’s a solid track.
Track #3 My Love, is a soul-hop track layered with a spectrum of immense musicality, enhanced with 90’s Soul touches that imbue it with a kaleidoscope of beauty.
Lyrically reminiscent of Finnish bands Humus and Dolla Lova who wove compelling intrigue into their constructions, track #4 Natural, is a killer, and the breakdown elements within this track make it one of the standouts of the set.
The 7 min run time of #6 On the Search – confirms what I knew. Djeff isn’t a band trying to produce pop hits; they want to re-connect with the fragrant essence of music and express themselves in their way, and in their own time. You know, like real music should.
When Keshia sings ‘Soul is what I really miss’ not only does she demonstrate her vocal dexterity, but it also feels like a statement that lies at the heart of the band’s creation. This message chimes strongly with me, and the roots of scandinaviansoul.com
The sound of African voices on Unajali – is an enjoyable interlude. It somehow fits and yet acts as a symbol of their global influences.
I can’t stop playing the immersive 6min wonder that is #8 What If I Told You? featuring Mathias Heise. The track is planted in fertile soil, and the harmonica comes alive on this sparkling gem, and I’m so thankful for its run time!
It honestly feels like my Grado headphones love it as much as my ears, as they did the albums’ final track #9 Symphoty. Another musically expansively that has a special warmth about it, that once again leaves you hoping this musical garden excursion doesn’t end.
The whole album is rich in American neo-soul influences and lovingly reproduced with Danish skill, sincerity and complexity.
Not everything works though. Some tracks end too abruptly, and the slow-down fade out does disturb the absorbing mind-flow, but the essence in the next track always makes up for any nit-picking.
Whilst the album ‘borrows’ heavily from US neo-soul greats D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Robert Glasper, there’s a fresh synchronisation of styles, where they purposely fuse hip-hop/soul/R&B/jazz with subtle pop and rock sensibilities.
The whole album; the instrumentation, the creative production, the organic interpretation and the soulful vocals of Keshia Christiansen are enough to demonstrate a pure, authentic and passionate desire to make soul music.
I already know I want to see this band live.
Over to you Djeff. Bring your videos, vinyl, cassettes or t-shirts. I’m sold, and happy to lay in the sun and continue listening in their beautiful new garden.
Don't let this one pass you by! There's a beautiful garden here to explore!