After a number of years of sporadic singles, EPs and remixes New Jackson (aka David Kitt) has finally released its first proper full length. The last LP from either moniker for Kitt was The Nightsaver, under his own name, back in 2010. In the meantime the New Jackson project had a few false starts and then there was a total break while he toured for 18 months with David Gray’s band, keeping the wolf from the door so to speak.
So now, ‘From Night to Night’, comes six years after the formation of the New Jackson project via All City Records, a label he petitioned to put this record out his Choice-nominated debut. On ‘From Night to Night’, he treads the borders between techno, house and disco with jazz and classical flourishes appearing for good measure. It may not have the immediate appeal of previous singles The Night Mail or Having a Coke With You but it’s a rewarding listen, revealing hidden depths each time.
It opens with the perfectly-titled Ghost Stomp where sub-aqua swells give way to a stomping beat. The slow crescendo and diffusion are intoxicating and from there it’s about keeping the foot down.
The tempo is carried through to the title track, From Night to Night which features Kitt’s unadorned voice to the fore. On previous efforts his voice is heavily vocodered, but not here. The issue is that Kitt’s vocals are so familiar it’s quite hard to make a real distinction between New Jackson and music made under his own name. It’s a little like seeing a huge star in an indie movie – it takes you out of the experience to an extent. Having said that, Kitt’s sleepy vocals suit the track well.
On Blaze All Day, another aggressively stomping beat is offset by the washed out staccato underpinning it all. With twisted vocal samples, the result is hypnotic if a touch too long at 7 minutes with no new ideas introduced in the second half.
Put the Love In It features woodwind flourishes giving it a Nick Drake vibe. This along with a repeating soft brass motif in the chorus makes it quite a chilled out listen compared to the rest of the album. SP2, on the other hand, has too much going on. It sounds like Kitt had some left over samples on the cutting room floor and they were thrown together to make another track.
Things get a bit more experimental with On Solid Air. It’s title is accurate in its contradiction in that it’s certainly airy, with nothing to grasp on to, and you find the whole song passing you by in a hazy five minutes. It definitely feels like filler.
Elsewhere the woozy Anya’s Piano is almost nausea-inducing and After Midnight in a Perfect World (with a title nod to DJ Shadow) is an epic ten minutes of bell-heavy techno.
Album closer Of A Thousand Leaves is another ten-minute fully immersive number with some unexpected violin from frequent Kitt-collaborator Margie Jean Lewis, keeping things interesting.
It’s an album that is nicely bookended by a perfect opener and closer with the filling a little more mixed. The tone is a little all over the place which means it’s hard to think of a mood when which would lead someone to think “I’m in the mood for the New Jackson album”, but there’s enough good stuff here that you pick and choose to suit every mood.