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J.P. Shilo - Jubjoté (Heavy Machinery)

28 June 2021

Australian singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist J.P. Shilo has been around the block a few times, as leader of atmospheric instrumentalists Hungry Ghosts, member of the Black-Eyed Susans, associate of Mick Harvey, Rowland S. Howard, the Triffids and more. Jubjoté, however, may be his most unusual project yet. Recording live at Melbourne Town Hall, Shilo centers the music around the hall’s grand organ, a massive music maker from which he extracts all kinds of haunting and shimmering sounds. Joined by Ghosts violinist T.J. Howden, as well as his own guitars and piano from time to time, Shilo calmly narrates a series of reflective tales over the music, as if he’s providing the soundtrack to his own cinematic dreams. As might be expected, the stories he tells don’t necessarily go directly from point A to point B, and the variance of his work at the keyboard – from the minimalist ambience of “Out of Body” to the gothic majesty of “Mélodie de la Malodie” – favors shifting moods over coherent thought. That’s not to say the program is jumbled and non-sensical, mind you – just that the work is meant to pull the audience into its creator’s dream state and let each individual decide what s/he finds there. The word “jubjoté” means “to emerge from a dream without knowing how it ends and trying to return to find out how it does,” and it’s that mindset that determines how a listener may react to the aural experience of Jubjoté.