Jel is the beatmaster of Anticon. The Meat & Oil EP is his latest release on the happening label Mush records. It is considered to be underground hip-hop, but that title is misleading as there are no vocals, and there are many types of music influencing the sounds of Jel.
The first track on the Meat side is Media Mom Saves The Day. On this track Jel uses a lot of advertisements, and news samples talking about national security and terror. There is a fuzz guitar that that reminds me of the UK band Sand (one of Soul Jazz Records interesting signings with a This Heat inspired sound). Media Mom Saves The Day has someone blowing a rock harmonica like the glory days of the J. Geils Band.
Shed Those Values is based on a one-two bass part almost like a Martin Denny track. There is an accompanying synth that sounds like a cello. Shed Those Values has a lazy sound that makes it seem like urban tropical music.
The Oil side starts off with The Livestock Rock. The song begins with a slow buildup to what at first sounds like a reverb drenched surf instrumental that might be on a Messer Chups (the Russian band) album. Once the song is established it becomes a mid paced instrumental based on the chordless melody of the guitar. The song ends with the tape being slowed down.
Petroleum Jel ends this EP. It starts with a slow beat under rapid afrobeat percussion. A guitar with the amplifier set to heavy tremolo begins to layer over the percussion. A brief vocal sample of a toaster gets echo treatment to match the guitar's tremolo. The track ends with a sample of a hip-hop radio DJ announcing.
When I bought The Meat & Oil EP I did not know who Jel was. I broke the shrink wrap and listened to the 12inch in the store. I liked what I heard. The production is fairly rough, but it only serves to lend a natural feel to the tracks on the EP. The graphics were halfway between the 90s indie band Star Pimp and the illustrations that used to appear on Jello Biafra projects. There is no info on this record's jacket, so I half thought it WAS a new Jello Biafra project.
The sounds on this EP are very interesting and will interest fans of many genres of music.