'More Berlin, less Monaco.' That's the ethos of the new Max Essa project titled Jan Ken Po: Less sun, less sea, yachts and millionaires; more twilight hour, basement clubs, up-tempo rhythms and dancefloor ethics.
Hailing from the UK but currently residing in Japan, Max Essa's aptly name Jan Ken Po side-project is a welcome new addition to Essa's quiver of music and sounds. The LP, entitled 'Unlimited Man' consists primarily of instrumental cuts focusing on clean house-centric lines, irresistible deep-rooted grooves and Essa's flair at capturing that special 'something.'
'NYC Set Me Free' kicks off the record in fine style; all tight cowbell rhythms and piano riffs over a walking bass synths and a catchy lead. Title track 'Unlimited Man' follows, with its icy cool persona and infectious double-clap rhythm holding together the call-and-response keys.
'Civilized Gangbang' goes in swinging, bouncing groove and rising synths aplenty. 'Palm Beach boy Trees' brings the tempo down a notch and introduces the first sniff of a human voice with the vocoded phrase 'beach boys' looped over crunching synths and other sublime artifacts. An 80's phaser bass is actioned to perfection in 'Horny Diplomat,' followed neatly by the synth rock-disco / xylophone throwdowns of 'First Touch.'
'Metropolitan Scene' oozes class and restraint, and could be the backing track to an 80's vocal house classic. 'Rhapsody in Leather' on the other hand allows Essa's trusty rhythm guitar to take the limelight with some ultra-lean riffage.
'Colour Wheel' finishes off the album in high spirits. It's soaring, airy leads and pleasant steel guitar strums are the perfect midnight tonic. Essa has touched a new base with this record, and we're pleased to be able to share it with you.