Joltjacket is a compound of metallic sound and harmonious flow

The+album+cover+for+Joltjacket+showcasing+the+title+engrained+in+an+artistic+stone+slab.

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The album cover for Joltjacket showcasing the title engrained in an artistic stone slab.

Lately, I’ve been needing a wake-up call—the world of gray around me has suppressed me into redundancy, allowing for no leeway in my rigid routines. Just as I had almost fallen into complete slumber from the lack of much-needed energy boosts in my life, the album Joltjacket by Ehiorobo struck me like lightning, swiftly turning my desire into reality.

Though his name’s pronunciation still slightly puzzles me, Ehiorobo has a solid base in the music industry. His primary genres lie underneath a blanket of hip-hop and jazz but have since merged into experimental R&B through his latest project, Joltjacket. Over the past year or so, I have found myself enthralled with strange, experimental music, so this album was perfectly satiating in that aspect. But other than Joltjacket just being unorthodox, its melodic elements intertwine with its metallic fibers seamlessly, making me feel like I was resting on a storm cloud about to strike in the midst of listening.

The song that initially jolted me awake is fittingly named “Fusion Bazooka,” commencing the album with a sharp, static explosion. Immediately after the belligerent sound passes, a light guitar strum cradles Ehiorobo’s enchanting vocals through a sonar sunset of composition. Every so often, varying pitches scratch the surface of serenity but never break through totally—that is until exactly two minutes in. At that exact moment shift, a tone of violence sets in through vigorous drums and electronic notes, snapping the angelic melody of flowing vocals in half. The remainder of the song sticks to its blistering intensity, then suddenly cuts all ties with noise five seconds before the track ends.

After the tumultuous nature of the first song, I needed a breather, and that breather is called “City Morgue.” Aside from the fact that it is named after a literal morgue, this song takes on a more relaxed, appeasing persona. Throughout its verses, a strong play of vocals takes the lead—Ehiorobo’s voice dips into pools of great depth and simultaneously grasps the clouds with shrill exclamations, eliciting a dynamic sound profile backed with consistent beats and computerized instrumentals.

Once I caught my breath, it was time to get back into it. Immediately causing me to break a sweat, “Howlr” sprinted in with a beet-red face, seemingly dragging me through a crowded concert venue. Every turn this song takes goes 80 miles per hour and never skips a beat. Its video game-like sound effects made me feel like a character speed-running a simulation, with no end in sight. I would describe this song as short and sweet, but nothing about it could quite be described as “sweet.”

As I ran away from “Howlr,” I fell flat into a cold pool. Not just any pool, but the song “Pool.” Once I started to sink below the surface, Ehiorobo’s voice liquified into an ethereal blue, surrounding me entirely. His voice calls out to the angels above, subsequently pulling in a lulling harmony and progression of sedative sounds. “Pool” encapsulates every element of the grace and movement of water, therefore making it one of my favorite tracks on Joltjacket.

While every element may not be exactly pleasing to the ear, Joltjacket proves that music does not need to appease everyone’s preferences in order to make an impact. ”

Once my fingers got pruney from chlorine in the “Pool,” I needed to towel off the water and dry out in the sun. The song “Fun & Torture” lent me a hand and provided a warm staccato. This song perfectly balances a relaxed beat with an evolution of voices and instrumentals, intermixing the two present themes of both “fun” and “torture” to a tee. Although it doesn’t give the impression, “Fun & Torture” bathed me in much-needed light and rays from the sun in my imagination.

I continued to bask in the sun for a couple more songs until I needed replenishing—what could better do that than ice cream? The song “Caramelized!” stepped in as my ice cream cone, serving a palette of various flavors consisting of catchy and quick strums and composition. The song is the musical embodiment of driving with the windows down whilst suffering from severe brain freeze. Once “Caramelized!” was entirely consumed, I was left with a sweet yet sticky feeling of fun and an uplifted mood.

With dings and staggered drum beats and disembodied machinery sounds, “Voog Campus” drove me back home. This song captures a sense of poignancy and cohesiveness in areas while throwing in a traffic jam here and there. As “Voog Campus” cruised down the tracklist, I connected my aux cord into its many outlets of sound, leaving me feeling like I never wanted to escape its surreal hold.

Reflecting on every activity of every song that Joltjacket set up for me, I felt as if I were in a coming-of-age film—but the film wouldn’t be whole without a theme song. The very last track of the album is named “Maker,” giving me the exact song I needed to complete my movie-like experience.

The beginning of the song creeps up a high-pitched ringing, growing louder with every ticking second. Ehiorobo then introduces himself again in a subtle manner, pairing flawlessly with the heavy instrumentals. “Maker” travels through a tunnel of subliminal soundwaves, culminating into a beautiful, ever-so-perfect crescendo. I felt like I was passing through a heavenly threshold during every moment my ears were drenched in this song. It’s rare for me to unsheathe songs that make me feel alive, but I found that that was the exact purpose of “Maker”—it made me feel like the star of my own film, the main character of my own life.

To sum it all up, Joltjacket is simply a continuation of strange sounds, experimentation, and pure innovation over a forty-nine-minute-long tracklist. Each second dedicated to listening to this album has the power to cultivate a series of moments unique to each listeners’ experiences. While every element may not be exactly pleasing to the ear, Joltjacket proves that music does not need to appease everyone’s preferences in order to make an impact. 

After cycling through the warfare of songs Joltjacket offers, my state of solitude has been electrified and livened once again—it was the exact wake-up call I asked for.