The Outer Marker
is the moody and confessional debut of
. A sensitive, soulful dub trip expressed through lyrical tales of observation, relationships and the minutiae of social interaction. Dense, funky rhythms coupled with a poetic, and at times melancholic production approach make The Outer Marker a unique sonic commentary and its creator JUST JACK a working class troubadour blurring the of lines of singer/songwriter/poet/ rapper and producer.
Born and raised in Camden, England, Just Jack
a/k/a 24-year-old Jack Allsopp has taken his youthful exploits and love of d.j. culture, early scratches of break dancing, hip hop, house and electro and fused them into an infectious, sublime debut which defies easy categorization. The Outer Marker deftly moves from ethereal images of lost love and desire like the exquisite opener "Let's Get Really Honest" (sampling 10cc's '70's classic "I'm Not In Love”), "Deep Thrills” and "Ain't Too Sad" to the brooding, groove laden, conversational pulse of "Triple Tone Eyes”, "Contradictions" or the inimitable first single, "Snowflakes."
“I’ve never been into one kind of music to the detriment of others,” explains Jack. “I was always into black music basically - funk, soul, hip hop, house - I never got into the indie guitar thing at all. I’m not even good at listening to the whole of an album by the same artist. So my music is all about inclusion. Inclusion of everything I've liked…The reason I rap is often simply because you can fit more words in, but sometimes song is the best way to express myself."
The album title, The Outer Marker refers to a quote from the film 'Die Hard 2', "but for me it signifies being on the edge of things" explains Jack. That edge induces the listener to feel when listening to his music. Says Jack, "All music should communicate some kind of emotion." That kind of raw sensitivity and vehemence is rarely captured as effortlessly as it is here by JUST JACK, especially on such standouts as "Heartburn" or "Lesson One."
Trying to see the beauty/Minus the black inside/She told me people came here/To get drunk before they died - "Paradise (Lost and Found)"
The Outer Marker was written between the south Of France and the UK and recorded in England with whiz kid co-producer/engineer Jay Reynolds. Of his French excursion to write, Jack concedes "I didn't really fancy traveling to Australia or Bali and bumping into a lot of old schoolmates. I went to France to chill out. It was hot, beautiful and isolated." Admittedly a late starter in the business, Jack explains the delay, "I've been a gardener, flower arranger, cleaner, production P.A. - anything to get a crust on the table while I got into music and learned how to sample and put tunes together. I used to be a human beatbox and I'd been dj-ing since I was 14. In my head I've always been making music, so when I began to get into sampling at a music technology course, I had a good idea of the kind of music I wanted to make. I began to construct tracks and demos and exercised strict quality control, so the album is more or less the same as the demo."
Ironically, this infamous demo was only heard after Jack had applied for a job at his now-label home RG Records and casually slipped it into the hands of owner (o/k/a Chaz Smash from Madness). A few weeks later he was signed to a four-album deal. Initially a low key release, The Outer Marker and it's first single, "Snowflakes" has amassed rave reviews and a groundswell of media support: "Masterful" -Q; "Impressive" - The Independent; "Bloody marvelous" - Time Out; "Awesome" - NME. Airplay on XFM and the heralded "Snowflakes" soundclash remix by Eddy Temple Morris and Reynolds (Temple Of Jay) - utilizing the rhythm track of The Cure's languid goth classic "Lullaby" - has it now being hailed as "the first classic single of 2003."
With the addition of a funk-fueled live band in tow for tour dates throughout the year- the arrival of JUST JACK and his refreshingly honest take on modern soul with an organic dub aesthetic makes The Outer Marker individual as it is undeniable.
"I never had heroes and never wanted to be like other musicians, Jack says. "I have no affiliations to anyone, I'm not part of a gang, I'm not part of a scene and I don't have a sound that's obviously part of a scene. I'm just Jack."