Joker has long held a place in the hearts of those who fancy themselves fans of dubstep. I don't mean people who occasionally party to Datsik and Excision, though they too have their merits — I mean people who really want to get down to dark, heavy bass. Joker's music carries a sense of legitimacy, but it's still as danceable as it gets, and it's accessible while maintaining a degree of subtlety.
His album, The Vision, out on 4AD (the label that Zomby also recently signed to) on November 8, is a really perfect showcase of what Joker does. While I used to point anyone looking to newly discover Joker to his mix for Mary Anne Hobbs' former BBC Radio 1 Experimental show, his album is now just as appropriate and impressive a primer (and one that's probably easier to track down).
- Here Come The Lights (feat. Silas)
- The Vision (Breathe In) (feat. Jessie Ware)
- Milky Way
- Level 6 (Interlude)
- My Trance Girl
- Lost (feat. Buggsy and Otis Brown)
- On My Mind (feat. William Cartwright)
- Back In The Days (feat. Buggsy, Shadz, Scarz, Double)
- Electric Sea (feat. Jay Wilcox)
- The Magic Causeway (Joker & Ginz – Outro)
The Vision contains a mix of new and old tracks — "Tron" has been floating around in countless mixes for a while, some of the singles have been around in various incarnations for months ("The Vision" for example), the "Slaughterhouse" single and remixes have been around for a bit now, but it's refreshing to hear all of the tracks in one polished album, rather than as a bunch of random singles. Some favorites that I hadn't really paid as much attention to before the album are included in this post: "My Trance Girl" and "Back in the Days." There's order to the madness.
Listening to the album, it's clear why it took Joker so long to put his first full LP together — this isn't a haphazard mix of tracks, it's a legitimate album with a pop streak. In that sense, it reminds me of Nero's Welcome Reality, which is certainly a dance album and could be deemed the pop music of the space age, but also feels like something more than that (and it had to have resonated with a wide range of people to achieve the rankings it did on both pop and independent charts). I think we can expect to see Joker achieve similar transcendence — this is what happens when mainstream and alternative cultures become one.
Pre-order: Joker – The Vision