Leopard Skin Jasper - Orsic Poppy / Akka
Info: Leopard Skin Jasper are an instrumental four-piece, experimental outfit formed in Cork in 2014. After spending much of last summer playing the festival circuit, including a standout performance at Body & Soul’s Pagoda stage, they recorded their first collection of tracks late last year and from these sessions has come their debut release, double A-Side 'Orsic Poppy' / 'Akka'. Their music is a blend of progressive post-fusion sensibilities and ambient atmospherics, the two tracks serve as a taster of the group's wider oeuvre.
The first thing that strikes you when you listen to these two tracks, 'Orsic Poppy' and 'Akka', by Leopard Skin Jasper is that the four-piece know exactly what they are doing. This is a pair of songs that have been very carefully constructed, but in true artistic expression, without over-thinking, allowing the sounds the band have felt naturally convey themselves in the music.
On 'Orsic Poppy' itself you have the perfect mixture of mellow and restrained opening, leading to a controlled gradual up tempo rhythm and force, if this was my introduction to an established and signed act I'd somehow not heard until now I would be instantly hooked, and I am. It falls somewhere deep between the bass and drums you'd expect from Mogwai and the keys and guitar from a more electronic-leaning group such as Death In Vegas or God Is An Astronaut, without really sounding like any of those when you take it as a whole.
Then comes 'Akka', distinct from its predecessor but no less interesting, there were a couple of things that struck me from underneath its surface. It begins with an almost bossa nova and jazz vibe, with intermittent 70's psych and prog-rock sequences, a bit of funk via the guitar, before finally going a bit math-rock towards its powerful conclusion. I don't think I've quite come across anything like it before to be honest, and this is something to be much celebrated, musicians melding traditionally unassociated genres together and making them work. Leopard Skin Jasper's originality, as displayed on both of these tracks, is something exciting indeed, one of those moments where I want to hear a full album right now.
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