Jerskin Fendrix – Winterreise


Jerskin Fendrix

2020 – Pop / Electronic

Untitled (Recs)

Winterreise is an excellent creative and provocative sound mess, however, its lyrics seem to be lost in their own meaning.

Jerskin Fendrix had everything to be a great classical musician or an orchestra conductor. The young British man studied classical music in Cambridge and used to attend Symphony Hall to watch Handel’s Messiah with his grandparents. However, as a Renaissance man of the medieval age or a great visionary of modern art at the beginning of the past decade, Fendrix relaxed all his learning and applied it in a new and innovative way. And his debut album, Winterreise, is this deconstruction

Winterreise is the strangest, most curious and intriguing project I’ve heard this year. This is not a Noise Rock or Violent Electronic project, much less Experimental Hip Hop, however, it can sound like all of this at the same time. He took drums from a monarchist orchestra and remixed them to make them sound like alien beats. The pianos became psychedelic screams that leapt from the soul. Together with the instrumental distortion that is even annoying, Fendrix’s voice, which is thick and constant however it is not really strong, appears to cause confusion, making the listener wonder if that voice is like that or if it is something remixed. To everyone’s surprise, this is it anyway.

The strongest point of the album, without a doubt, is the instrumental. On the first track of the album, “Manhattan”, we are presented with a very soft syrup piano that lasts for two minutes. Soon after, a very thick horn appears on the track spreading a feeling of fear and terror in the environment while Fendrix’s voice sings very morbidly and lifeless. In the middle of the track, a bagpipe appears in the interlude of the music, marking the division of the track: while in the first one we had this terrifying experience, in the second we have something lighter that ironically is still worked by heavy instruments, which are later replaced by synthesizers that play with electronic samples and heavy notes. To complete the package, a raw Metal guitar appears to bother your ears. In the end, “Manhattan” is a planned, intriguing, inspiring and curious mess.

“Last Night In New York” starts off pretty tense with a tense synthesizer that seems to be a kind of spinning helix object. Working around this sound, the track becomes more and more intense until it reaches its breaking sound when that spinning sound finds a more powerful synth that screams into the air and another opaquer one appears just to bother. In “Swamp”, Fendrix’s self-review of himself where he evaluates himself, thinks about what he thought of him and what he wants to be, we have electronic drums being pounded with strength together with a very complex letter, but the charm ends the end being all worked in an epic fade of strong, thick and powerful instrumental creating an entire atmosphere of tension.

However, while the instrumental seems provocative, the lyrics are bad, confusing and often seem to say nothing since Jerskin seemed unable to convey his essence. “Black Hair” has a really cool beat that mixes a little bit of soul with strong gangster beat, but in his lyrics he has phrases like: “If you’re the thunder I’m the lightning / You’re so thunder I ‘m so lightning” and “Feel so flame I can taste the oil”. “I’ll Wait for It” seems like a simple current pop song with electronic betting, however, when we pay more attention to the lyrics, we see things like: “When I see your hair and flesh” and “When your flesh is in my flesh”. Although “Depecc” has a certain charm in the middle with an orchestra, the track goes very unnoticed thanks to the lyrics that really seem to speak nothing to nothing and not be anything special. At the end of the album, “Oh God” appears adding all the concepts mentioned throughout the songs in a track that has strange concepts: “I curtsey like your husband / I curtsey like your cuckold / Now I can’t stab my body / But she can’t stab hers either”

Although this project has a lot of creative ideas, there are songs here that sound very convergent with mainstream songs. In “I’ll Clean Your Sheets” he works a beautiful orchestra with his distant voice that sometimes dares to perform beautiful cappella vocal. On the second track, “Onigiri”, Fendrix leaves his original voice and opts for something totally electronic in a track that just looks like a normal EDM track. Following the same electronic vibe, “A Star Is Born” is the only track with a usual lyric structure where Fendrix debates the fact that he is entering the music industry. While the instrumental is based on funny ready-made sounds, the lyrics are full of interesting lines, such as: “My voice ain’t the best you’ve heard / But God, my nails are perfect”. Fortunately, he ends by saying: “A star is born, a star is born”.

Winterreise is a good album sonically speaking, but its lyrics sin a lot. The concepts that Fendrix bet as something innovative regarding the lyrics, ended up sounding something too strange, difficult to understand and that even generated a little concern. Despite this, the instruments on the album are very well crafted, from the classic instruments of the monarchy to the brutal synthesizers of noise rock, this package resulted in this extremely well made and produced mess.

LISTEN ON: Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal

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