one way ticket
sun will catch
WATCH & LISTEN
_UP_ is the third chapter of Blaudzun’s Jupiter-trilogy, Already in the fall of 2016 Johannes Sigmond aka Blaudzun announced the tryptichon and released ‘Jupiter Pt I’ the same year, followed by ‘Jupiter Pt II’ in 2017.
“If I had to compare the Jupiter-trilogy to a painting”he says, “_UP_ would be the center piece between the two other side panels. In hindsight, I consider Jupiter Part 1 and 2 studies that helped me unravel what I wanted to make” the Dutch artist continues and also says that in the process of creation _UP_ moved further and further away from his original vision: “I discovered that I prefer my wine more ripened, not so much the first harvest.”
In short, Jupiter was a natural step for Blaudzun. After achieving commercial success with Heavy Flowers (2012) and Promises Of No Man’s Land (2014) and receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from the press, it was not an option for him to draw from the same well again. He wanted to break out of the normal tour/album cycle and had been toying with the idea of releasing a triology for some time; “Whatever it was that came out of me, that would be it. The only limitation I imposed on myself was doing three records. On each of them, I searched for what it should eventually become.”
The songs on ‘Jupiter Pt I’, for example, mostly revolve around just one musical figure, are sensual and danceable. ‘Pt II’ turned out far more atmospheric and was marked by Blaudzun’s significant songwriting. After both albums were completed, he realized that he had to take a different artistic direction for the third part.
“I know now, what making a record quickly, and then release it straightaway, is all about”, Blaudzun reflects. “But ultimately, I believe more in taking time and allowing doubt to creep in. On _UP_ I carefully weighed every note I play, every melody I sing. I once read about this well-known Dutch author who, after finishing a book, would retreat to ruminate on every word he wrote. I adopted that same mentality on _UP_ as well. Each note was very deliberate in its execution.”
Compared to its complex predecessors Heavy Flowers and Promises Of No Man’s Land, which were often infused with a certain gloom, _UP_ sounds much more lighthearted and accessible. Blaudzun gave more space to his preference for the cultivated, yet by no means simple pop song and composed all new songs on piano only, accompanied by his voice, always characterized by a catchy melody. A thoroughly conscious decision, as he himself says: “My voice is once again the focal point. Lately, I’ve been using my voice complementary to the music, but now I’m resolved to the fact that, in the end, I’m a fucking singer. In that regard, inspiration comes from artists like Adele, Beyoncé and also Nick Cave. This winter, I was cycling through the streets on a Spanish island. You could hear music blare out of the cafes… guess what the first clearly audible thing was? The vocals. That’s when I realized I had to exhume my voice again. Instead of drums or sexy bartiton horns melody is fundamental to this record, and my voice the vehicle.”
In some ways, the Jupiter Saga helped Blaudzun finding out who he is, as a person and as an artist: “In reality, this is the most honest way of making music. To remain true to yourself”. The result speaks for itself, so the first single ‘_hey now‘ immediately became a hit on Dutch radio and found its way into countless Spotify playlists around the world, including Iceland, Mexico, Denmark and Argentina. “That’s a first for me with a track, not even with Promises Of No Man’s Land. I’m really pleased.”
Blaudzun explains why he named the new album _UP_ as follows: “You can’t keep wading in the mud, you have to keep going, keep looking up. That’s why I named the album _UP_. It’s an optimistic record in very dark times. In the morning, you can either bum yourself out reading the news, or decide to move on and enjoy life. This album is brimming with life.”
Jupiter Part 1 and 2 were a kind of stocktaking for Blaudzun, without which _UP_ would probably never have existed in its current form. Now Johannes Sigmond can look to the future with his head held high; his new album is a confident reinvention of himself. “To me, this record brings about a definitive balance!”