We’ve been fans of Jack Goldstein since forever. Or at least since we started to hear about his solo work after his old band Fixers split up. Jack has always been this slightly mysterious lo-fi art-pop character around Oxford, appearing out of nowhere every once in a while with another off-kilter concept album and playing gigs that feel more like art installations. He has released several cassettes, and we have them all. We are seriously tuned in to his wavelength.
Who knows whether pinning a photo of Jack’s face to our secret dream board made a difference, but somehow the cosmic energies aligned and we ended up sitting in our kitchen talking to him about the new album he was about to record. “It’s not really like the last one,” he said. “Let’s do it,” we said.
I listened to all of Jack’s old albums again on an 11-hour flight to San Francisco. It was quite a trip. Each album has a different concept and sound, but in each one you can hear Jack exploring the outer edges of his favourite styles – retro pop, experimental art music, kitsch, cassette music – combining and re-combining elements in an endless kaleidoscope, like a secret diary full of doodles. Everything in Jack’s music is both stolen and entirely original: the samples, the beats, the genre clichés, the accent, the snippets of old film dialogue. He borrows ideas from all over the place and assembles them in a glorious feat of musical story-telling that despite the impersonality of the source material feels intimate and inviting.
A Jack Goldstein album might sound like the Beach Boys (especially Dennis) making bedroom pop on a 4-track while watching VHS tapes of old movies. Or a synth-prog dystopic musical, somewhere between War of the Worlds and Diamond Dogs (awooooooooo). Or a live performance of John Cage’s chance-controlled musical pieces. You never really know until you listen.
Jack Goldstein is working on his new album right now. We have no idea what it will sound like, but we’re going to release it. We can at least guarantee that it’s going to be interesting, and I strongly suspect we’re going to love it. We’re honoured to be able to introduce some more intrepid music fans to the weird and wonderful world of Jack’s music.
UPDATE: Jack Goldstein’s new album LOVE, THE ANSWER TO THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN EXISTENCE is available now! The tapes are sold out, but the digital version is in all the usual places.