Words by Jam Pascual
If we’re riding the wavelength of solar imagery, let’s consider the phenomenon of the summer jam. Usually meant to categorize upbeat bubblegum bops and dance floor mood-makers, summer jams are meant to match the mood and tone of its chosen season, the way they’re meant to make you feel alive and get you moving and sweating.
To wallow in the memory of 2020’s lost summer would be a waste of time, so we won’t dwell. However, it is interesting to consider The Sun In My Window, the EP by Javier Pimentel A.K.A. Papa Jawnz A.K.A. lui., as a compendium of summer jams, released out of season. Deep as we are into the season of day-long rain, The Sun In My Window bursts in guilelessly, like hey, what’s everybody so glum about?
Intro track “Golden Sunrise” commences by banging out a rowdy piano passage. Percussion grows increasingly dynamic, intensifying in choice spots with glossy synth lines, eventually relocating its rhythmic center. At the track’s conclusion, the keys wash away, and for a brief moment, like light dispersing, the song reveals the little refractions that make its spectrum.
“Garden Meditations” meanwhile is, uh, not meditative. In fact it’s quite kinetic, lots of parts moving in unison, each element’s activity hard to isolate. But there is something zen about it, starting off with what sounds like hang drums chiming in, before effervescent synths glide in to meet you, and a disembodied voice from far away mandates a mysterious message. Here, the blurred edges between conscious and dreaming, where so much is possible.
It is interesting to hear such a dance-y record present itself as a soundtrack for your sun salutation stretches, when so much of what I know of techno or house, I associate with after-dark ecstasies. Not that these genres have ever been relegated to the territory of night, but there is something fascinating to the way this record’s title track can make flowers bloom while channeling Kaskade. It’s certainly a refreshing break from the woozy, bleary-eyed, Joji-derivative stuff that has dominated the electronic music landscape over the past few years.
Perhaps the keyword is “luminous.” The Sun In My Window is a luminous record. It might be a little on-the-nose to say, but maybe this project is designed to sonically mimic the behaviour of light. It breaches the shifting gaps of foliage. Komorebi [Editor’s note: a suitable poetry companion]. And like most good music, it makes the things we already perceive richer and more visible.
“Last Wave” takes us out with the EP’s longest movement, clocking in at over eight minutes. Reverberations akin to Korg M1 nimbus sounds lap up the silence like waves, and set the stage of myriad flourishes, like synapses firing one by one. And just like this, you’re awake, lucid.
This project reminds me most of Ametsub, specifically his 2014 album The Nothings of the North, the way it invokes nature. That album had track titles like “Lichen With Piano,” “Snowy Lava,” and “Time for Trees,” purposely meant to tease out from its listeners more abstract perceptions of the natural world. The Nothings of the North had a more minimal approach, with clicks, snaps and pops that work against wallpaper-y textures. The Sun In My Window, however, comes in with bigger brushstrokes, to paint the small miracle of light passing through glass. So yeah. What’s everybody so glum about?
You can listen to ‘The Sun In My Window’ on Spotify.