James Edward Jacob, the London producer we all know as Jakwob, has stolen our attention this weekend with The Prize, ten tracks that are a big move forward for someone who was among the first-generation dubsteppers to break through here in Boulder. Jakwob may not have been too visible once the dubstep invasion really took hold, but damned if he wasn’t the first to kill it with an Ellie Goulding remix.
Following up on last January’s “Electrify,” The Prize is full of suspense. It takes a listen or two to realize there is no monstrous bass drop lurking in the shadows of the sweetly sung post-dubstep lullabies. If you are looking for noise-ordinance provokers and brain-grating tones, this is not the Jakwob release for you. Tracks like “Erupt”, “The Prize” and certainly “Let It Fall” are very “dubstep,” and there is no doubt they’ll be aces at Jakwob‘s live shows.
But the album is marked from the start as a change of pace with “Turn To Stone,” and the soulful post-dubstep vibes that start off The Prize dominate the first half. Even “The Prize,” the first “dubstep” tune, shows an incredible amount of restraint; just imagine what a VIP could sound like, and how much rowdier it could be made.
The point of The Prize isn’t simply that he didn’t go there. It’s not just a matter of scaling back the filth and calling it a productive day in the studio. Jakwob is going after the more modern approach to satisfy the soul than a murderous need for noise. This opens the door for fantastic collabs with Youngman, Ghostpoet, 14th, Roses Gabor, and with all that, a specific flair of songwriting.