Jimi Jaxon, "190403 (Part II)" (7 Deadly Records)
Seattle DJ/producer Jimi Jaxon is best known for his high-NRG dance sets and his house, juke, and other club-friendly productions. (He's DJing tonight and tomorrow at Steamworks.) So, his new four-track EP, the self-explanatory Ambience, is a bit of a shocker. But, lo and behold, Jaxon has proved himself to be an exceptional craftsman of deep, aquatic sonic environments (the EP's cover is not false advertising). I don't know if anybody saw this coming, but now that it's here, Ambience is a very welcome collection of soothing, involving atmospheres.
The cryptically titled "190403 (Part II)" slightly edges out the other three fine pieces on Ambience as the most interesting work. It begins with a nuanced, wavering drone that suggests something is not quite right on the horizon. As it continues, "190403 (Part II)" intensifies the spine-tingle factor, entering disquieting zones summoned by Tangerine Dream circa Phaedra and the Arctic chillscapes of Biosphere. This stark composition couldn't be farther away from the hedonistic, pumping electronic music Jaxon spins at Steamworks, I would imagine, and that makes Ambience seem all the more remarkable. This is one of the best local releases of 2019.
Jimi Jaxon performs Saturday, November 30 at Barboza.