MRS JYNX: The Standoffish Cat (Planet Mu)


Posted on Jun 4th 2008 12:40 am

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Mrs Jynx: The Standoffish Cat

The Standoffish Cat
Planet Mu 2008
13 tracks. 58mins27secs

IDM, electronica, ambient techno – everyone has their own name for the music that shaped the electronic music scene of the 1990s. Everyone too has their own list of the heroes who dominated the scene, whether it be Aphex Twin, Autechre, Black Dog or one of countless other artists to have come to prominence in that era. Yet everyone also has their own theory about when IDM fell apart, and when the scene’s death was officially confirmed. For some, it was the slipshod meanderings of Aphex Twin’s Drukqs that drove the nail into the coffin, proving that Richard D. James, the movement’s leading voice, had finally lost his way. For others, it was the recondite nature of Autechre’s Confield that proved electronic music had lost its pulse and drifted into the obscure realms of academia. But whatever the moment, whatever the cause, few now would dispute that IDM as we once knew it is a dead movement.

Of course, time has proved that Aphex Twin is still more than capable of fresh ideas, and others from the movement have continued to produce good work. But it is the sound as much as anything that has changed now. The IDM that characterised the sound of Warp Records for many years has long since been superseded, overtaken by advances in equipment, in thinking, in taste. Even a brief listen to an album like Fennesz’s Venice makes much of the work of the IDM era seem dull, tame, dated.

So it is a continued surprise to hear the tropes of the movement played out again and again on new releases. This, the debut album from Mrs Jynx is by no means the first, and will be far from the final effort to make its way onto shelves in the record shops. But it simply feels like a record from a different time.

This is perhaps not something Hannah Davidson, the driving force behind Mrs Jynx, should be held responsible for. After all, like many who listen to electronic music today, she must have grown up with records by the likes of u-ziq and Aphex Twin, and The Standoffish Cat evokes very well the mood of the times in which those artists came into the spotlight. And as homage, it works very well. But there is nothing new here that can let us see the record as anything much more than that. This is not to say that much on this album is not of merit. Although it sticks too often to a rather flat, almost lifeless ambience, there are many shrewd moments, the doleful Time Missed and Dusty among them. And there is a subtlety and finish to most of the record that puts it above much else on the stands today. However, this feels too much like music out of its time, music that too often has been given to us before. Many will disagree fervently with this verdict. Many too will dispute the prognosis on IDM. But times change, and music changes with them. The same old thing can never be enough.


Mrs Jynx (MySpace) | Planet Mu
Buy: CD

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Comments (10)

10 Responses to “MRS JYNX: The Standoffish Cat (Planet Mu)”

  1. wickymalton 11 Jun 2008 at 1:17 am

    Wow! Just W O W! I think you forgot the “IMHO” part of your little rant/review! (Jesus, I hope that people don’t actually take your word as gospel. )
    I take it you have either sent off music to labels and have been rejected or you don’t actually make music yourself and just pretend you know what you are talking about?

    “In my humble opinion” (see its not that hard!) i see that you like to throw around words most people have used before – UZIQ, IDM, AFX, . I have no doubt you have picked these “keywords” up from other people. Why on earth you would rant on about “when IDM and Afx was good”, “blah blah blah” and then you didn’t actually say much about the album itself, other than name two tracks and how you don’t like them much! It honestly makes me wonder how people like you keep your jobs, sitting there in an office and half listening to something and then babbling on about absolutely nothing relevant and getting paid to do so!

    I have traveled many a forum on ye old tinternet and I ALWAYS see elitist people who think they know everything about everything and think they have seen the world and that it shines out of their bum hole, Robert – You are one of those people.

    I own this album, and I listen to it daily. 2In my opinion” it’s the best album I have heard in a long time. I am not a huge fan of Acid or Dubstep and this is nothing of the sorts. Genuine, beautiful melodies – a Rose amongst Thorns!
    I think the reason this is even compared Uziqs style is because its Melodic. I honestly think Mrs Jynx has taken it a step further. Amazing Synth lines and chords, not just in one track but EVERY track on the album which keep keep you excited throughout.

    Your issues with the horribly named “IDM” are your issues alone, if you cannot take an album as beautiful as this for what it is, then you are certainly in the wrong game “IN MY OPINION!”

  2. themilkmanon 11 Jun 2008 at 7:09 am

    I haven’t heard this album in full yet, but I think that, from what I’ve heard, I must say that Robert is actually right. I get to hear a lot of new music, but I am sometimes getting tired of hearing Boards Of Canada, Aphex or Autechre clones, which do not bring much to the equation. I think, and Robert will correct me if I’m wrong, that it was part of the issue raised with this ‘rant’ as you call it.

    From what I’ve heard of the album, I sounds nice, melodic and quite smooth, and sometimes I like picking up an album like this, but it doesn’t bring anything to the mill if you know what I mean, and I’d rather listen to the actual guys who made this in the first place rather than pale imitations. But this is my opinion… very much like any review is.

  3. wickymalton 11 Jun 2008 at 9:27 am

    “I haven’t heard this album in full yet” – Come on! How can you even comment about it then? I think this validates my point of you guys half listening to something.
    And i’m sorry to keep going on about it, but how can you compare This album to Boards of Canada, Aphex and Autechre?! I’m no music critic, like your good selves, but i’ve heard enough of those artist’s to be able to know that there should be no comparison made. It’s like saying that every band after the Beatles are a rip off from them, because they use guitar, bass and drums.
    I just think that this Album deserves more than to be labeled as a “Pale imitation”. I really think there is a hell of a lot more to it than that.

  4. Robert Rowlandson 11 Jun 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks, Wickymalt, I’m happy to see people responding to my reviews. I can’t say I agree with you, but then that’s the whole point of a review. To free you of one illusion, I don’t get paid for doing this, I I do it because I like music. I also don’t happen to like this album. You obviously do.
    I won’t respond to each of your comments – some of which are quite hard to understand if I’m being honest – but the thing that saddens me most about this album is that it is doing nothing new. You might see that as a minor detail, but when you listen to a lot of new music, artists who fall back on old ideas tend not to get noticed.
    You call me elitist, a charge I can only say I wish was correct – if only because it might imply I was making a decent living somewhere.
    You also say I am bandying around terms like IDM willy-nilly. I think it’s clear even in the first sentence that I am using it because it is a term people have used to describe a certain style of music. I didn’t invent it. You’re right to say it’s a horrible term, however.
    And as for whether the sun shines out of my arse – well, I’ll leave that for my doctor to judge.
    Apart from that, keep listening to the music and, who knows, maybe we’ll agree next time.
    Thanks for your input.

  5. themilkmanon 12 Jun 2008 at 12:27 am

    wickymalt, I’ll also reply to some of the points you made in your reply to mine.

    “I haven’t heard this album in full yet’ – Come on! How can you even comment about it then?”
    Well, as I said, ‘from what I’ve heard’, and you don’t actually know how much or how little of this album I’ve heard. I’ll keep it at that and point you back to my reply of earlier.

    I also think that you missed the point of my remark when I said ‘I am sometimes getting tired of hearing Boards Of Canada, Aphex or Autechre clones’. I certainly didn’t imply that this album was sounding any way like these. In fact, it sounds more like an early u-ziq than anything else to me. This is certainly in no way a bad comparison by the way, I happen to love Mike Paradinas’s early work. I did then, and I do now. And since the album is released on his label, he’s obviously put his seal of approval on it.

    My comment was more general. Believe me, I listen to a lot of music, new and old, and I get sent a lot of stuff that just sound too much like any of the above to warrant much interest. I don’t expect every artist to come up with a new way of doing things, because that would be as tiring. Contradictory? Well, surprisingly enough, no. There is a middle ground, and I am glad to say that most music I get to hear actually falls in there, in one way or another. But there are clones of Boc, Autechre, Aphex, u-ziq… and they are not that interesting.

    Although I have enjoyed what I’ve heard of the Mrs Jynx album to some extend, it is a bit too close to what I could hear over 15 years ago, and doesn’t seem to give a different angle on it. That’s the impression that I’ve had listening to over half of the record.

    I hope this will clarify my comments.

  6. Netoon 15 May 2009 at 2:38 am

    it’s so simple, probably the reviewer prefers to listen some indie rock or he just barely listened this album one time

  7. Benon 09 Mar 2010 at 9:38 am

    Mrs Jynx still seems worth talking about presently, nearly two years after the release of this recording. Sad is that her music fell on deaf, or at least jaded ears. The mood and tone of this album resemble that of Ochre more than the oft-mentioned Warp Records artists of the 1990s; an interesting coincidence, since the reviewer positions Mr Leary as a worthy producer among his contemporaries. One nearly wonders if Mrs Jynx is given short shrift here simply because of her gender, an unusual characteristic in an unusually male-dominated musical genre. Closer listening should reveal that this music is of a different mood and more contemporary presentation than the allegations of early-90s Warp clone-dom would suggest.

    Previous comments were right to note that a review should be based on at least one full hearing of the work at hand. Writing reviews as a labour of love does not excuse halfhearted efforts. Quite the contrary, especially in view of the fact that many of the reviewed works are equally a labour of love. Indifference to criticism of a job half done further weakens an already weak rebuttal.

  8. Robert Rowlandson 09 Mar 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Ben, I can assure you that, whatever you might think, I listened to the album many times before reviewing it. For what it’s worth, I didn’t like it. The gender was and is immaterial.

  9. Statson 30 Sep 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I am much happier since I stopped trying to evaluate music based on the timeliness of its genre. I suggest perhaps the reviewer should try the same thing. The relevance of an album’s genre, or how close it resides to the “cutting edge” as defined by some scenester cult is pretty much the least interesting part about any given album. To slag something off as being “nothing new, same old stuff” is just laziness on the part of the reviewer.

    And this widespread belief that music becomes obsolete as “technological advances” are made and genres evolve is just ludicrous. Tons of technological and genre advances have been made between Chuck Berry and, say, Mastodon… but you’d be a moron to say that Chuck Berry is somehow invalidated by newer rock and roll. Evolution is regression. Regression is evolution. Music is not a linear timeline. What’s new is old, and what’s old is new.

  10. ez1on 08 Apr 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Music is so much to do with what mood the listener is in, and conjecturer part of life. Yes this style by Mrs Jynx may be similar to what has been done, but the point is it IS different to the previous stuff and it has been well produced and comes from creativity. And believe me
    that is to be respected from someone who attempts to make music himself. It takes alot of effort to make descent worthy listening music .

    he he