Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Jai Paul – BTSTU

There appear to be two photos of this feller on the internet. This is the one that gets used a bit less, so, since everybody loves an underdog…


Zach Lyon: I regretted not choosing “BTSTU” as my amnesty pick, so this is a nice surprise. One of my favorite songs of 2010 and my most anticipated release of 2011 (the only other output we have from him is a wonderful remix of “Jungle Drum”) and one of the only BBC tracks that actually sounds new, still, after dozens or hundreds of listens. Every element is so meticulously and perfectly placed, every sonic corkscrew or vocal tic absolutely necessary (I’ll even miss the Myspace advert at the end when the LP is released). Somewhere near the middle we hear a sudden “EY!” from a new voice, and it sounds like we’re about to hear a rap verse from a guest (or Jai Paul if you didn’t know his game going in) but we never hear the voice again. It’s minimalist restraint in a maximalist landscape, enough to move your speakers without exhausting itself or disguising a single moment of Paul’s falsetto.

Tom Ewing: Astonishing disconnect between the BBC’s description of this dude, which promises “kaleidoscopic funk” and “a bolt of neon soul”, and what you actually hear when you put the track on, which is flat zombie stomp with a guy switching between diffident mumble and weak falsetto. Raygun synths alone do not a track make, though there’s a sadistic moment when the song suddenly flares out with instrumental colour only to end ten seconds after. [2]

Jer Fairall: There’s minimal, and then there’s barren.

Katherine St Asaph: Where there’s a Prince, there’s a Squire.

Jonathan Bogart: Kid A was eleven years ago.

Kat Stevens: I did a big belch halfway through listening to this and it fitted in perfectly!

Iain Mew: Soft and warm cooing of words like “don’t try and fuck me about”, with wobbly electro bubbling up in all kinds of enjoyable ways beneath. A lot like if Hot Chip had carried on with the offhand oddness of their first album as their abilities developed.

Alex Macpherson: Some of my favourite music has been made by people twiddling around on computers in their bedrooms. But the sheer pointlessness of “BTSTU” — what are these plinky, aimless sounds for? What are these uninteresting pokes and prods trying to do? — is indicative of someone who’s such a shut-in that they’ve lost all sense of what passes for an adequate musical composition in the outside world.

Martin Skidmore: The thin, awkward falsetto annoyed me immediately on this. The rest is sort of intriguing, throbbing electronic sounds that refuse to cohere into tunes or dance beats. A sweeter and stronger vocal could have made something of this, but as it stands irritation is my main feeling about it.

Chuck Eddy: I could probably handle some of the silly sound effects if not for that affected little hermaphro-squeaker trying to come off transgressive, or whatever the fuck he’s doing. Give or take a tease or two of dancehall, the other voices just do the same thing indie voices always do: Nothing.

John Seroff: I didn’t care for “BTSTU” at first; that too-gentle, effeminate whisper of “don’t fuck with me/don’t fuck/with me” is altogether too mannered and twee but then comes the boom bap, then the shivering bass, then missile command shots fired off the starboard bow and a brief pause pierced by this cursing ladyboy hiss and now the full-fledged video game freakout I had wanted from Daft Punk and wait, are these highlife horns I hear before me now, the beat finally reaching my hips? Then there’s no such thing, only the echo of something fiddly, fey and enormous that slithered between my ears, laying eggs all the way. So again and then again and then again and here we are at two score repeated listens before I finally put metaphoric pen to paper and the most I can tell you now is that Jai Paul is still something of a mystery and this is the first great pop song I’ve heard this year and I’m looking forward to more alleyway catcalls from this particular punk in the near future.

Anthony Easton: It sounds like it was recorded under some large body of water. Synths and oceans cannot be a good mix, but I kind of like the muddy, caked-on quality of it.

2 Responses to “Jai Paul – BTSTU”

  1. Martin: once i resolved that irritation, the song leapt into full bloom for me. YMMV of course.

  2. PS This is four years old.