It’s a mystery just how Karori based electronic producer Michael Upton, aka Jet Jaguar, has remained such a well-kept Wellington secret for what is now two decades. Since 1996 he has released four albums as Jet Jaguar, two albums as his Montano side project and over a dozen EPs and remix collections featuring remixes of artists including Fat Freddy’s Drop, the Phoenix Foundation and Lontalius. I am pleased to report that several of his albums and compilation appearances can be found in our library collection.
Michael recently held a release party for his latest EP “July” and to celebrate 20 years of music production, at new Wellington venue, Caroline.
It turned out to be an evening of dudes with laptops, who are often slagged as boring live performers; however, first act K-Saba dispelled any potential derision, enveloping the attentive audience in a warm cocoon of cool laidback original electronica. K-Saba has created sounds for several theatre productions and is part of the Young Gifted and Broke collective, alongside artists including Estere and @Peace. These musicians are carving a name for themselves as the new generation of instrumental hip-hop, making well produced and engaging sample laden tunes underpinned by slow, seriously funky beats. Check out some of his sounds here.
Next up was talented local bedroom producer, Skymning, who maintained the standard, playing some genuinely lovely tunes, using his guitar to trigger samples of field recordings and who knows what other sounds, which he treated and mixed into a dreamy textured ethereal gauze. Check out his Bandcamp page for four years’ worth of albums and eps.
Last up was Jet Jaguar who played a range of his music, some from the new EP, some from his forthcoming album, and some from his self-released EPs, all nicely reworked for a live environment. His productions maintain an unfailingly high standard and if electronic listening music is your thing then you really need go no further. The compositions are highly melodic and curiously abstract at the same time, feature meticulous attention to detail and in their own kooky way they groove. Hearing his finely tuned electronics through a good quality PA was a real treat – the bass was rumbling, the highs were sparkling and my ears weren’t ringing on the way home. What more could one ask for?
Hopefully, a time will come when Mr Upton’s talent enjoys the recognition it so richly deserves, however, in the meantime, I am quite happy to wander down the road on a Thursday night and hear live music of such high standard in an atmosphere that feels like some friendly person’s lounge room.
Thanks Michael and crew!
Check out Jet Jaguar’s ‘July’ and his impressive back catalogue here.
All photos used with permission.