James Joys has an eerily acquired sense for shaping space and static silence; on his May-released L.P 'Glyphic Bloom' he operates in atmospheres that fluctuate between hushed tensions and explosive electronics with fluid transition. Much like the refrained magic skipping between glitch and buoyant ambience found on Oval's Systemisch, Joys too creates a startling amalgamation between quiet beauty and seething terror, and occasionally while locked in the middle between these two opposing but blending forces, some stonking dance music (as found on 'Subterranean'). The crackles of fizzing static that often spit like angry camels throughout his work, give his music a warm coated, almost analogue tinge to them, as though time periods are in as much of a constant battle as all the wrestling tones brawling it out, along with discordant rhythms that often spend as much time in complete harmony as they do in raging opposition.
PEELED APART / June 2013
Alexithymia's [Future Pixel EP] barbed, off-kilter electro rhythms are like long strings of binary code shivering across the telephone wires of metropolis; silent stormcatchers that loom uncomfortably above the monotony of everyday life. This is the world of James Joys, who operates at these jagged frequencies with an eerie menace, colliding super-charged particles of angular synths and hypnotic post-rave booms together to create the faded small-hours pulsations of a distant nightclub stuck in the loop of The Matrix. These are lenghty tracks, too, ebbing and flowing with the unhurried maturity last seen on Jon Hopkins' Immunity. The sharp dance volts that make up 'User Guide' are particularly polarising, reminscent of an Author & Punisher live show or a Streets of Rage boss fight, unrelenting in its mission to drill your prefrontal cortex and blind it with strobe lights...It keeps an urgent, feverish pace and bustles with steely intensity that only mechanics can quite provide, ultimately creating a world that is both completely recognisable yet utterly anonymous. In other words, do you think that's air you're breathing?
NOTED / November 2013
It's the dark, sobering pulse of Devil, Repent! that makes it so deeply enjoyable, in a curious use of the word. Born from the miseries brought about by the crippling of Catholicism and the exploitation of religion for personal gain and harrowing cover-ups, the sparse beats of James Joys marry well with the stricken vocals of Peter Devlin. Both were raised and turned white by that stifled society, and it adds a shivering ache to the burdened crunches and snaps that inhabit the LP...Peter Devlin, co-architect of Devil, Repent!, reared his head on [Glyphic Bloom] to fill the gaps in the concrete with his slick, bass voice - there's a melody to it, carried by the crest of a wave, soothing in its candour. It stands as the antithesis to Joys' forge. But here, with the glaze of awed eyes reduced to dry apathy, Devlin's voice takes a more macabre form, snared by the same shackle as Joys rather than acting as the perfect foil. Buckled and duotone, not too dissimilar to the vocal contortion of Fever Ray, they coat the proceedings in an indelible tar with lyrical, warbled incisions the like of "hurl us into the void".
NOTED / June 2014
'...this next one’s going back towards the kind of obsessive, paranoid inwardness of albums Glyphic Bloom and Canon Fodder, which I think is quite easily translatable by electroacoustic approaches to sound, and combining that approach – all its grueling gestures of warping, twisting, torquing – with a quite improvisatory lo-fi sampling practise using an old Yamaha SU10 is proving a lot of fun, rhythmically and narratively, like, here are two dramas getting tangled up in each other’s business in a pleasing way.'
FULL INTERVIEW with James Joys and Peter Devlin.
NOTED / June 2014