Swiss born drummer Jojo Mayer is known far and wide for his incredible technique and skill behind the kit. While he’s adept at playing a multitude of musical genres, Mayer has deep roots in electronic music. Back to the ’90s he helmed the Prohibited Beatz party in his current hometown of New York City, and his ongoing Nerve project has allowed him to delve even deeper into the style along with a crew of ridiculously talented players. Together, they forge their beats, blips and bleeps with an improvisational spirt into a sound that few can duplicate. (Try that, Diplo!)
Their recently released third album, Ghosts of Tomorrow, is the latest chapter in their riveting musical story, one that’s full of dramatic twists and turns that’s informed by footwork, glitch, breakbeat, minimal and beyond. Before they left NYC to perform a series of dates in Asia, we touched base with Mayer and company and asked them to share five artists that get their stamp of approval.
Jojo Mayer & Nerve’s Ghosts of Tomorrow is out now and can be purchased here.
1. Aphex Twin
John Davis: It’s not obscure at all, but having been a long time fan of Richard D. James and all his various monikers over the years, it’s amazing to be able to hear so many alternate versions, unreleased tracks, experiments, etc. There’s everything from random sound tests, same sets and even cassette “data dumps” to alternate versions of classic Aphex tracks, Analord style modular tracks, AFX acid stuff, and amazing ambient pieces. It’s a glimpse into the mind of an incredibly prolific artist, and shows that for every track released on a record there are dozens of alternate versions or demos or other tracks that didn’t fit or make the cut.
2. PC Music
Jacob Bergson: A record label rather than a single artist, PC Music offers a manic, twisted take on pop music production. Tracks generally fall into two categories: caricatured radio pop or nearly-unlistenable rhythmic barrages of sound, with lyrics that are often either utter nonsense or comically inane. Along the way, though, there are some moments of real musical brilliance. I suspect that label founder AG Cook has his hands in more of these productions than he would have it appear.
3. & 4. Howie Lee & Jason Hou
Jojo Mayer: I recently discovered Howie Lee and Jason Hou in an Shanghai after-hours club. They are both producers from Beijing and bring in a lot of traditional Chinese textures and sounds into the music. Both represent a new generation of Chinese music makers that are reaching for authentic expression and ready to kick ass.
5. Hess Is More
Aaron Nevezie: Mikkel Hess leads an eclectic group based in NYC that’s a dynamic live party band with some serious quirk. With saxophone and vibraphone joining synths, electronic drums and vocoder, there’s always a surprise lurking. Catchy deadpan lyrics and dance grooves make for total earworm.