‘Timeless vocals and sophisticated musicality make for a soulful infused showcase.’
Intro to GeeJay:
Releasing their debut EP ‘Thru Channel’ in early 2018 to acclaim from Radio 1Xtra’s Jamz Supernova, it was clear that this London based soul-jazz-RnB duo featuring Gina Jane and Jacob Lobo were onto a win. Likewise, in taking the garage classic Sweet Female Attitude’s ‘Flowers’ and turning it into an incredibly successful, electro-swing influenced track they proved their level of creativity.
Honestly to say it’s a transformation doesn’t do it justice! So, looking to build on a great 2018 – which also saw GeeJay support the likes of Plan B – they start this year with the ironically smile-inducing ‘Feeling Blue’ and their latest release the dreamy, soul infused track ‘City.’
Dripping in musical deliciousness from the outset, a reverb-warmed descending piano glissando takes us to the ‘City’. Instantly full of soul, it’s beautifully sophisticated. Sounds perfect, right? Well yes. However, the truth is that this couldn’t be more different from the wrong turn down Skid Row that inspired the track itself.
In some ways – especially given that fact – you would probably be expecting something quite different. Maybe something more powerful. But, as we move through the opening lines it soon becomes clear what the track will deliver: a perfectly harmonious mix of the perceived glamour outside of those unenviable conditions, and those conditions themselves.
Taking on a free-flowing, thought cloud style form, Gina’s initial lyrics are filled with elements of the city. Containing phrases such as ‘car fumes and pollution’ they would, in any other context, feel weird and almost unsettable. But, in what is to be the first of many showcase moments, through being wonderfully set, they in fact take on a form that’s full of beauty.
This said, it must be added that the success of these opening lines doesn’t just rely on Gina’s timelessly soulful tone. Far from it as with the instrumental transitions transforming the track a fully soulful vibe is found. Built around delicate piano, distant bass lines, selective high strings and electro drums its evolving nature really is a delight for the ears. However, it’s nothing compared to the chorus.
Switching from smooth and soothing to statement-like, the line of ‘because in the city’ heads up a slight change in the sound. Bringing more power yet remaining firmly in the more chilled area of soul, a groove driven atmosphere appears. Developing the earlier saxophone lines, greater prominence is given and creating a call and response between Gina and Jacob, the effortlessly sophisticated sound becomes a showcase one as well.
Transitioning seamlessly into the second verse, the more developed sound carries through and is taken even further with the main vocals now joined by selectively multi-tracked harmonies. However, this is not all as the ever-growing saxophone counter-melodies soar and forming their own harmonic line, it takes us into the evolving, live performance-esque atmosphere of the forthcoming chorus.
Contrasting brilliantly with the previous version, this one features a greater use of space via instrumentally centred stab chords. Formed of jazz-based intervals and accenting the rhythmic feel in the syncopated way they do, the emerging free-form edge only adds to what has just occurred. Equally, and delivering a bonus bit of musicality, it’s also an opportunity to hear Gina’s vocals in an almost unaccompanied way and truly appreciate them for what they are.
However, in what could well be termed as the musical highlight of the track, this sparser texture forms the basis for remainder of the track. Evolving to create an enticing, polyphonic sound full of interweaving melodic lines, the tracks breaks off into a free-form, yet highly organised direction. To balance this in the way they do, shows incredible skill, but incase you weren’t fully convinced by their musicality yet, they deliver two final doses of effortless soul.