Jesu – Infinity

A few remixes aside, the last real Jesu material dates from the 2008 split cd with Envy. Later on, Hydra Head Records and Daymare Recordings released the “Why are we not Perfect?” CDEP but again that material dates back to 2007. The split with Envy was arguably the most electronic Jesu had sounded to date (JKB himself stated it was sort of a tribute to Donnacha Costello‘s “Together is the new Alone”).
After almost a year of anticipation Infinity finally hits us.  This is a one song undertaking (the vinyl version has the song split over two sides, the Japanese version contains one bonus mix of the second part) totalling 49 minutes and 31 seconds.

The intro  hints back at recent electronic swayings of Jesu. It brings back memories of the “Silver” EP for me, specifically “Dead Eyes“. Elements from the more electronic tracks on “Pale Sketches” come to mind as well.   The guitar noodling between the layers of electronica is simply sweet and these opening 2 minutes set a great atmosphere.
This is where most resemblance to previous works stops. What develops next is a new page for Jesu. The elements are still there but are produced differently and this gives the record a very organic sound. Other than the programmed drums there is almost no electronica remaining.  The clean vocals and drums are the furthest back in the mix they have ever been. Down tuned guitars and bass still form a noisy mist with a high pitched guitar peeking over it forming the melody lines. The opening 12 minutes are like this and for me those turned out to be the best. They retain the melancholic vibe of  Jesu but without the snail like pace of some of the earlier works.  Perhaps this could be called  more accessible.
At around the 12 minute mark a second segment begins. the drums have become more prominent and so has the bass. The tempo shifts back a nudge as well.   Early Pelican, their former roster mates on Hydra Head, came to my mind. The sludgier sound is a forebode for thing to come in the third part of the track.
Slowly a very Godflesh like sound begins to emerge from the sludgy foundations. Surely the harsh shouted vocals will send memories of Godflesh through a lot of people’s minds. I for one didn’t find it fitting within this song. There’s little need for it (also within the lyrical content). It fits within the sound of the segment  but not within the entire track.  An ambient outro reminiscent perhaps of the track “Heart Ache” on the debut EP, flows into the intro of the next segment.

On the second half of the LP Jesu showcase yet another new sound. This time it’s very slow and psychedelic with live drums.I found it interesting, but not necessarily the sound I was looking for. This might be the slowest Jesu has ever gone and it is quite depressing (a change from the opening segment). Bands like Mare or Neurosis or even noise rockers Boris come to mind.  The vocals continue to be solid and are now way upfront in the mix. The vocal/lyrical part really makes this segment so it’s a real shame they are so sparse. I just feel that with more vocals, the slow tempo and psychedelic outburst would not be so emphasised.
The segment plods away and becomes more noisy and psychedelic towards the end before the vocals take over one more time giving the segment the sort of climax it deserved.

Again a noise and reverb drenched part in between serves as outro for the third segment and introduces the final one (It is remarkable that all segments are about 12 minutes long). The final segment is recognisable as “traditional” Jesu, minus drums.  The guitars play a very nice melody  but the drums or vocals never make their appearance and I really feel that there is something missing to keep this interesting. This  is really not much more than a post rock outro stretched for 12 minutes and even though it is pretty, it is far from attention grabbing. Even when the dowtuned guitars and bass make an appearance it couldn’t prevent me from wanting to fast forward to hear the first segment again.

It is remarkable to see this being advertised as a one song 50 minute behemoth, which it is not.  You can easily listen to the four parts seperately.  The most positive thing about Infinity is that  Jesu again is going forward and finding new sounds. There are a few less interesting parts along the way unfortunately but being such a lengthy undertaking, I kind of expected that. The first 12 minutes are awesome and the third segment has some  good moments as well. The middle part reminicent of Godflesh was interesting addition to the track but doesn’t really stand out for me. Too bad the final part is less appealing.

This won’t be my favourite Jesu record but I think it’s a worthy addition to the discography and again leaves me in anticipation where the project will evolve to on the next release.

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One Response to “Jesu – Infinity”

  1. DarkDruid Says:

    This is an awesome record. I especially love the slow bit near the end, very doomy! Listen to it all in one go to fully appreciate it. Respect to JKB for another great release.

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