Jim-E Stack Blends Genres on His Captivating Second LP, 'EPHEMERA'
In 2020, it seems increasingly hard to assign a genre to any given song. Historically, genre has been an important tool for labels to market their songs and for music consumers to find new artists they like. Additionally, consumers rarely jumped from one genre to another. Fans of Nirvana probably weren't into N.W.A., and listeners of Korn didn't like The Backstreet Boys. However, in today's world, most people enjoy listening to a variety of music, and the current generation of producers, songwriters, and artists is no exception. Modern music creators seem to infuse their many musical influences together, and as a result, it has become harder than ever to classify music. Trap beats have made their way into songs by Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish. Juice WRLD (among many others) brought emo-rap to the mainstream. Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" even debuted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before it was later decided that the song was not country enough. Hailing from California, producer Jim-E Stack is yet another example of an artist pushing the boundary towards genre-less music.
James Harmon Stack, known as Jim-E Stack, has lived on the west-coast, east-coast, and the south. His well-traveled experience shines through in his music, as he incorporates alternative rock, hyperpop, and electronic into his latest LP, EPHEMERA. Jim-E Stack has been busy in recent years contributing to songs for Dominic Fike, HAIM, Diplo, Bon Iver, Empress Of, Charli XCX, Joji, and many others, but EPHEMERA is his first album release in six years.
With synths revving up like a still vinyl record player turning on, "Note to Self" feat. Empress Of wastes no time setting the tone for the album. The song incorporates active percussion and a booming bass drum, and Empress Of's charming voice is the perfect contradiction to the almost gloomy feel of the song.
For a song more upbeat in vibe, Stack teams up with Bon Iver on "Jeanie." The production is teaming with small individual melody lines and percussion instruments, and its impressive how Stack can piece together these contrasting phrases and sounds directly on top of each other creating an energetic groove that never feels cluttered.
"Lost Man" feat. Octavian employs a similar approach with plenty of accented drums and distinct synths, but what makes this track unique is its use of space. There are small pockets throughout where the audio cuts out completely leaving the listener in a brief state of anticipation.
The LP ends with its most acoustic sounding song, "Can We," featuring frequent collaborator Kacy Hill. The indie-pop/rock tune includes analog drums, piano, guitar, bass, and even bongos. Although the instrumentation leans less electronic, Kacy Hill's voice is pitched up and the second verse switches briefly to incorporate synths and a drum pad, in turn providing the song with Jim-E Stack's patented computerized feel.
With driving percussion similar to Mura Masa and atmospheric synths reminiscent of Rufus Du Soul, all modestly seasoned with the bit-crushing sound of hyperpop, EPHEMERA is an emotional yet groovy journey from start to finish and is a must-listen.
Listen to EPHEMERA below: