Andi Jackson and I have been pals for over a decade now, having met in the musical Mecca that is Milton Keynes, where Jackson–a bass player by trade–had been one of the most recognisable faces of the scene, rocking the stage with both The Modus Vivendi and Our Man In The Bronze Age, before relocating to the north and joining Lake of Snakes and Horrid. He’s a hugely talented musician, with a healthy taste for most things weird and wonderful, and hanging out with him is always a blast, thanks in no small part to his boundless enthusiasm and infectious energy.
Excerpts is Jackson’s first solo outing, and it marks something of a departure from both The Modus Vivendi’s spiky discordance and the gut-rolling heavy rock of Our Man In the Bronze Age. Written, recorded and produced by the man himself, the six tracks on offer here see him in reflective, almost plaintive mood, experimenting with sounds drawn primarily from his twin loves of dream pop and krautrock. Jackson told me he was looking to push himself beyond the boundaries of what he’d done previously; at the same time, he wanted to keep things simple and “create space”.
It can often be tricky reviewing something created by a friend, but in the case of Excerpts I had no qualms about saying what I thought: I loved it. Each track is unique, quirky and shot through with a unifying theme that’s suggested rather than shoved in your face. There’s a simmering, Fugazi-like menace to the bass lines that drive ‘Verano’ and ‘Compare & Despair’, while ‘Gateway Drug’ erupts into a frantic chorus midway through, before resuming its focused trajectory. ‘Dew Drops’ is an unsettling fusion of arpeggio chords and propulsive drumming, and ‘Ex Capere’ delivers a sonorous, slow-building slice of psych-rock. ‘Contaminate’, meanwhile, wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions albums—no bad thing, as far as I’m concerned.
Excerpts is unlikely to be embraced by those whose tastes don’t extend beyond the mainstream but this is a tantalising introduction from a dedicated, multi-talented musician; the sound of an artist striking out on his own, melding his influences into something singular and surprising.