Sometimes I struggle to find words for a blog about music. The reasons are as varied as the music. Perhaps the music is uninspiring, that happens, and there isn’t a lot I can do about it. Occasionally the music will grow on me but not always. There are recordings at the other end of the spectrum that I can’t stop listening to long enough to write anything.
Jesse Markin did that to me over the last four days. I listened to his newest release, Noir, several times. And then I went headfirst into his previous release, Folk, and swam through that for a day. Noir went back through my ears and wormed its way into my brain. I do not know how this will turn out but here goes my attempt at a brief review of Jesse Markin‘s album Noir
Several tunes deserve mention on their own. The fourth track, Sidney Poitier, jumps out of the speakers with a heavy riff reminiscent of Muse on their song Uprising. Then it rapidly becomes evident that this tune is carving its groove and not resting on anyone else or their interpretations. The catchphrase of Sidney Poitier is ‘I feel like yo papa don’t like me,’ catchy as shit, but it rang hollow for me because my papa-in-law and I were best friends. Still a catchy line in a great tune.
After Sidney Poitier, some more high-energy tunes lead us to a favourite of mine, Counting Money On A Sunday. I was an usher in a church in a previous life, and I counted money on a Sunday many, many times. I feel this song wouldn’t go down well with that particular congregation, but I dig it in my present life.
On June 4, Jesse will be releasing the single Hemostasis, featuring Terrell Hines as a vocalist. That powerhouse is followed by Exodus, another single that sores with the guest vocalist Akua Naru. This tune grooves with shadows of African rhythm mixing with electronica and the overlapping vocals of Akua Naru and Jesse Markin. I have a message for Jesse, bottom line; this is your time…to shine.
Mothers! Where would we be without them! I feel that Jesse is searching for his identity in this song.
Your favourite colours are white and blue
Mine are red, black and green
White and blue are the colours of the Finnish national flag. Finland is where Jesse grew up and now resides. He lived in the small town of Viljakkala which was small and all white, and it is through that lens that Jesse is peering hoping to find some identity that clings to him.
Red, black and green is the flag of Liberia, the birthplace of Jesse Markin, and the Pan-African flag.
A small history lesson follows to show how that is relevant.
The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World was drafted and adopted at the Universal Negro Improvement Association Convention held in New York City‘s Madison Square Garden on August 13, 1920. Marcus Garvey presided over the occasion as Chairman. It was at this event where he was duly elected Provisional President of Africa. He is
Among the articles is Declaration 39, which states as follows:
“That the colours, Red, Black and Green, be the colours of the Negro race.”
It is from that statement the Red, Black and Green flag came into existence.
From that statement, Jesse Markin’s favourite colours, as listed in the song Mother!, are essential, at least in my mind and thus in this blog.
The album Noir closes with the powerful pairing of the songs It Was August and Pushing Daisies.
There are nuggets scattered throughout this recording. In the last song, Pushing Daisies, there is an excellent example of this in the line Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. This line is from the song Ain’t No Sunshine, a massive hit for Bill Withers way back in 1971. I prefer the cover done by the hillbilly goth band Woven Hand. It is dark, which is what I read in the lyrics.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Back to the present day, there is sunshine because Jesse Markin
said that the bravest thing I ever did
Was to continue living life
I am glad Jesse continues to live life and to make music. It is worth a try. Thank you, Jesse Markin.