Stephen Jay | Chaos, Clouds and Tongue

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United States - California

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Pop: Pop Underground World: African- West Moods: Featuring Bass
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Chaos, Clouds and Tongue

by Stephen Jay

Metaphorical and subtle yet tied together by intricate instrumentation and rhythms - takes the listener on an innovative journey carried by music as lucid as an Irishman’s definition of a net – “a lot of holes tied together with string.”
Genre: Pop: Pop Underground
Release Date: 

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1. So Do I Sadie
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4:10 $0.99
2. Arrow of Time
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4:42 $0.99
3. Half Step
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4:37 FREE
4. Now You Know
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3:13 $0.99
5. Whipoorwill
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3:58 $0.99
6. Here You Are
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4:32 $0.99
7. The Bottom of Heaven
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3:02 $0.99
8. Cold in the Sun
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4:56 $0.99
9. Along One Line
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4:05 $0.99
10. Cool Run
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4:34 $0.99
11. What I Want to Do
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5:54 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
In Chaos, Clouds and Tongue there are many elements working together -
but nothing clutters up the view. It's no simple feat to have music so
full of content and not have it feel muddied. Clear like a Haydn string
quartet: lots going on but with no musical baggage. Or stained glass
windows: plenty of colors, patterns and a big picture, but it lets the
light through --- or more simply: like a fisherman's net.

Stephen Jay has taken all of his unique approaches to musical cultures,
contrasting textures and lyrics and woven them together into views out
windows, looking up at skies, dancing over the ground, contemplations
and musings which will be unique for every listener –a spacious and
complex experience which can vary over time just as the clouds in the
sky – same view above yet never the same. Taking part in this inventive
tour of sounds are Pete Gallagher on drums and additional drumming and
percussion by Ian and Miles Jay.Miles provides driving yet gentle force
on upright bass on a few tracks with Stephen Jay’s electric bass which
supports every track on the album.


Reviews


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Louise Hunter

Listen.. Do you want to know a secret?
Stephen Jay is one of contemporary music's best kept secrets.
Elsewhere on this page this music is described as "A lot of holes tied together with string"
Well perhaps not quite. To call this music full of holes implies incompleteness.
"Chaos Clouds and Tongue" is far from that. Once again, this consummately talented poet and musician has created something wonderfully different; a flight of intellect and maturing philosophy framed in music so natural you can hear it breathe.
Stephen Jay’s music is an exotic blend of cultural influences drawn together under the unstoppable heartbeat of his compelling bass mastery. When the focus shifts and the path meanders, the warmth of the bass provides the direction back, maintaining an unpredictable but tight structure, yet allowing for interesting diversions along the way. There is always something new to be discovered here.
"So Do I Sadie" sets the direction of the musical flow like a personal manifesto, a slow, sexy dance of temptation offered but resisted.
“Arrow Of Time” is characterized by a discomfortingly insistent melody which bubbles up through the boiling magma of satisfying bass beneath.
“Half Step” is a gentle, slightly mournful and elegiac song, which provides a moment of reflection
“Now You Know” takes us on a march towards transformation within a tight cocoon of structured rhythm and melody.
“Whipoorwill” is like a cool well-spring, mid album, a little mysterious, a little intriguing, and very magical
“Here You Are” has a tentative intriguing quality of carefully balanced uncertainty
“The Bottom Of Heaven” never ceases to delight. There is nothing predictable here and yet it is easy just to enjoy listening as the intricate rhythms resolve themselves into pleasingly kaleidoscopic patterns
“Cold In The Sun” This is great! With its cool urban reggae feel, this song conveys a conspiratorial moment, like a whispered secret.
“Along One Line” is sparse and tight, and needs to be listened to at sternum thrumming levels for full eye-popping effect. This is a great piece of “world-music” influenced rock
“Cool Run” This is so laid back, but there is a lot going on in there. In this, as in all the songs there are so many rich layers of sounds and silences that you can’t help but be drawn into the rich sonic landscape.
“What I Want To Do” closes the album with characteristic cool spacey funk,
Overall this album flows very evenly. There are no odd juxtapositions or jarring moments as the music provides a gentle and logical progression.
I hesitate to draw any comparisons to this unique artist, but if I must I would say that anyone who enjoys "World Music" as a genre, or, to name artistes, Peter Gabriel or some of Sting’s solo work would be advised to give Stephen Jay a listen.

Ena Zefram

A Lyrical and Musical Journey
In ‘Chaos, Clouds and Tongue’ there is delightful order playing below the chaos – patterns, dances on the earth, lyrics rising up from the ground reaching to the clouds speaking to whatever the imagination allows. Stephen Jay’s albums are complete vessels including all the ingredients for good listening – but are open-ended, continuously refilling. Lyrics take on new meanings with repeated listens; layers of rhythms go in different directions.

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The album opens with a captivating song where you wonder if this “Sadie” is part of a conversation or if the author is reflecting on something after the fact. Or are the two deeply connected – if so they share a fantastic language and knowledge.

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‘Arrow of Time’ takes off from the first pull of the bow and doesn’t stop for the whole song. Varied instruments, tones, textures weave around the arrow’s trajectory.

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‘Half Step’ is at first listen a laid back and calm track, but the lyrics and stringed bass drive forward in melancholy tension. Yet “summon the fates… new form of radiance” – lyrics like these give glorious sunshine scattered through dark trees.

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‘Now You Know’ is a fun, playful song with cheerful guitars all seeming to jump at their turn to be involved in the rhythms.

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‘Whipoorwill’ takes you on one of those great “Stephen Jay Around the World” journeys in song. Jay combines ethnic instruments which wonderfully get along as if they were always meant to be so.

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‘How You Are’ played on top of an easy-going rhythm, Jay shares some of his classic lyric style – it all sounds straightforward of course – like we’ve heard it before. But it’s clear we haven’t - “Take a guess but let it go… spirit moves you where muscles won’t … now you see and now you don’t.”

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‘Bottom of Heaven’ … “is hotter than hell.” Frenetic patterns carry this track just above the wild juxtaposition – “it’s amazing how it works so well…” – and it does.

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‘Cold in the Sun’ – and “warm in the shade.” Temperature and sky are reoccurring themes in the album – elements supporting ideas and questions. Musically this song feels like a stroll through a sunny park complete with skimming pebbles along water – lyrics bounce on top of the framework independently yet interlinked with each step.

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‘Along One Line’ hooks you in and won’t let go – and you don’t want it to. Descended now from the clouds you are on earth as the patterns dance over the ground. More multi-layered instrumentation creates the festive atmosphere which pulls the listener along joyfully.

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‘Cold Run’ and picking up mementos on the path along the way. “Learn how to fly in one day…” – who can run away from a line like that?

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In ‘What I Want to Do’, Jay, an expert of lyric timing, starts singing exactly when the song requires it – definitely knowing what he wants to do musically as well as what he wishes from the lyrics.

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No Stephen Jay album is without journey and contemplation – ‘Chaos, Clouds and Tongue’ adds to his wonderful collection of albums where only the best musicianship blends together to create a world of colourful balance. The words never give away too much first time around. The entire combination provides a whole world to explore.