Today I got my first ever album review. Jan Willen Broek from Dutch online music magazine The Subjectivists wrote a wonderful review of my debutalbum Deep Cycles. I translated it in English for you. Check out the Dutch version on De Subjectivisten.
Just – Deep Cycles (CD, Sharkin’ Around Music / Coast To Coast)
You can easily be 50 years on your way in life before you swap your place behind the scenes for the stage. This is also the case with Justin Kniest (1969), who, as producer of the Grote Prijs van Nederland, programmer at Paradiso, founder of Fabchannel.com and film producer (Editors, Racoon, The Black Keys), has seen the musical world from a contemplative side.
Still, it must have been itching to make something yourself, especially when you’ve heard and seen so much. And when you, just like me, have experienced several musical phases. But as the onesheet nicely says: “Sometimes it takes half a life to find the right words.”
He makes his music under the name JUST and the debut album Deep Cycles is a happy fact. The great thing about music is that it can take you away from reality for a while, just let you enjoy, think, offer you comfort and lend itself to fending of frustration.
Another thing about some music, like certain scents, is that it can recall a certain time or moment – usually earlier -; even lesser music from the past has that effect. It is pleasantly melancholic, because it usually reminds me of good times that have gone by and will never return. Not that there are no beautiful and happy moments now, but you are in the middle of that or time is still pregnant with it.
When setting up this new CD, which has 8 songs and is over 38 minutes long, I immediately feel that it throws me back in time and fills me with that fine melancholy. That while the music is definitely not dated. It is true that there is an 80’s varnish over it, but JUST mainly manages to pull out atmospheric, autumn-like and above all contemporary songs. With his emotive, warm vocals he sings about things like sadness, loss and hope and with that he touches deep strings.
The music is certainly never depressed, so the songs are not heavy on the stomach and remain extremely enjoyable. The music is a beautiful hybrid of avant-pop, synthwave and indie rock. Minco Eggersman (ME, At The Close Of Every Day, Unifony) is responsible for the production, guitar, synthesizers, keyboards, drums and percussion and further mixes the album with Theodoor Borger (Human Children, Unifony).
In addition, Justin (vocals, guitar, bass, piano) can count on guest musicians on bass, guitar, Hammond organ and (choir) vocals, plus a string orchestra. This forges a moody and strongly built whole. The flavor enhancers, such as the dramatic elements, strings, synthesizers and female choir-like vocals, are also dosed correctly, so that it never becomes too intense or too smooth.
Everything is right here and is taken care of down to the last detail; not only the music but also the artwork by James Marsh, who also made the famous Talk Talk covers, the booklet with the lyrics and the photos.
The music fits perfectly with this time, where everything is not going as desired and especially now that the days are getting darker again.
For reference, think of an ever-changing cross-pollination of David Sylvian, Power Of Dreams, Tears For Fears, The Sound, Simple MInds, Red House Painters and the former Coldplay.
JUST delivers a compelling debut with Deep Cycles, which forms a melancholic but comforting score for dark times from the past, present and future.