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I<3UQTINVU Zara Hedderman , November 8th, 2023 08:23

Coby Sey and others feature on remixed and re-worked tracks from the Mercury nominated-I Love You Jennifer B

Sometimes, it’s hard to stay up-to-date and in the know, especially with the transience of digital culture. We laugh at parents for their misunderstandings of short-hand text language without ever considering the possibilities of our own shortcomings in this realm; to be fooled by ongoing linguistic evolution by not acknowledging its potential. This is something that Jockstrap’s latest offering, I<3UQTINVU, an album comprised of reworkings of their Mercury Prize-nominated debut, I Love You Jennifer B, poses to its listener. Much like the way language can be altered over time, so can a song. Fresh perspectives can illuminate the different ways to interpret a lyric or simply appreciate the shapeshifting visions artists have for their work.

Re-evaluating and re-visiting songs, ripping them up and starting again, is familiar territory for the London duo, especially producer Taylor Skye. Jockstrap’s 2020 EP Beavercore is a blueprint of this inclination, as Skye remixed tracks and invited guests to put their own spin on tracks from their Wicked City EP of the same year. Returning to songs, coming at them from a different angle – both as audience and artist – is a fascinating exercise for several reasons. Firstly, little over a year has passed since their ambitious and adventurous debut. Enough time has been given to return to the songs, experience them live, step aside from the work to gain space from it. To miss it. Thus, the immersion of oneself in I<3UQTINVU allows you to reacquaint yourself with their vast electronically-led arrangements and also appreciate Jockstrap’s endlessly adventurous spirit.

Also, if we simply take the remix album’s title, I<3UQTINVU the band invites you to look closely at what’s in front of you; to consider the different ways something can be presented or articulated. Admittedly, it took seeing the title written in longhand (I Love You Cutie, I Envy You) to fully realise its meaning. Similarly, it took time returning to the debut to trace back the original source material for these reworkings; picking out a lyric such as “Like A Dj, like a dancer” in ‘Good Girl’, eventually linking it with ‘Jennifer B’ or taking the various distinct yelping motifs from ‘Concrete Over Water’ as a backdrop to Coby Sey and Ersatz’s vibrant ‘All Roads Lead To London’.

Some tracks here are more divorced from the I Love You Jennifer B version than others, notably ‘I Noticed You’ featuring Kirin J Callinan which shares little of the same DNA other than Ellery’s pitched up vocals delivering the refrain of ‘What’s It All About’ in the opening moments of this rather infectious and vibrant remix. The different approach to the tonal palette here feels so removed from what we’ve previously heard from Jockstrap, particularly on I Love You Jennifer B. Elsewhere, the embellishments are done with more subtlety on the likes of ‘I Touch’, which doesn’t stray too far from ‘Glasgow’, similarly the ornate details and space of ‘Angst’ remain intact on the compelling ‘I Feel’.

Dissecting I<3UQTINVU is addictive. You could spend hours paying close attention to every minute detail in Jockstrap’s material and be mesmerised by the breadth of their arrangements (and how they successfully meld so many different moods and sounds in one song) with each return. Regardless of how much time you spend with their music, you always feel like there’s always more to unearth and make sense of or even imagine the impact it would have in different contexts. It’s music that is constantly inspiring, if not a little beguiling.