Ma Ja Le

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Seed Review

by Matt Borghi

Glossy guitar-tronic melodies juxtaposed over the sounds of synthesizers and a variety of electronic timbres -- and that's only in the foreground of this release. Seed is a collection of works that came from a collaboration between James Johnson and Ma Ja Le (aka Paul Vnuk Jr. and Chris Short). Seed brings to life a new aesthetic for James Johnson. With Seed, Johnson seems to be working in a bit more of an experimental realm, only touching occasionally on the deep atmospherics that have made him a household name in the ambient/ atmospheric genre. Johnson's work, though, when fused with the quasi-tribal and glossy ethnic sounds of Ma Ja Le, is a nearly perfect marriage of sonic experimentation and tranquil resonance. The thing that makes Seed unique is that seems to be a bit of a stylistic deviation from works in their past repertoire. An artist should experiment and expound on their many influences, bringing them fully into their work, and Johnson and Ma Ja Le have done an exceptional job at this. At the same time, they've created a recording that is new, fresh, and quite dynamic. If you're hungry for a recording that's a little experimental but not harsh or dissonant and that's fused with ethno-tribal beats, fluctuating morphed guitar, and synthesizer, then this is certainly a recording that will satisfy. Seed is a fine work.

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