Jean Dawson – Glacier Gallery

Jean Dawson’s debut single “Glacier Gallery” was dropped last week. The track is a huge-sounding wave of compounded influences and experiments. Released via Kutsune Records – the famed French label – you’ll have an idea of the kind of questions the artist asks of himself, and of his audience.

Typically, a song of this scale is a straight banger; a beat will do 90% of the work. The objective is to fill a dance floor and the challenge for the music-loving audience is to remain motionless. What Jean Dawson achieves with “Glacier Gallery” is something different. Yes, the beat is deep, you will want to move – but this is not a one-dimensional explosion to arrest attention. Moods are toyed with, nuances are explored, and the strength that the artist presents he also questions. It’s smart and refreshing stuff that brings cerebral challenges.

Angels, demons, handguns raised to god – these are the creatures that Dawson focuses on. “I need the fire” is a line that echoes into distortion. The artist overwhelmed by his own compulsions sings of drowning, and the need to be cleansed; saved from himself. There’s some deep Jungian shit happening here, and it’s happening well. Dawson stands in control, alternating currents between darkness and light. “You can’t hide” he sings… and you feel it.

Lecx Stacy occupies the producer’s chair, and does a solid job of relaying Dawson’s intention. So many influences can be tracked here; Berlin-era Bowie, Monster-era Kanye, Bleach-era Nirvana – they stack up sediments of pressure to produce a new and unique crystal. These are big names, and big sounding albums, which initially feel as if they’d jolt in contrast. The common element his ambition, and urgency of vision.

Wait… are we saying that Jean Dawson is a name that should be shared in the same breath as those we’ve just mentioned? Well, not quite – this is a debut single – give the man some space to grow. However, the sense of purpose which the artist seems to channel from the ground and expel through craft is not small. The ego on this thing is… well, glacial… it can cut through mountains. It’s marvellous.

Dawson has the grace, and intelligence to pick the glacier as his totem. A colossal force that is subject to fragility is the perfect metaphor for this kind of ability and ambition. The humility isn’t immediately apparent but it’s there, and it forms the foundation for a captivating first release.

Jean Dawson promises us that his debut album will be shared in the summer. Let’s hope he’s good to his promise. Good times.


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