79 – Jens Kuross

Jens_Kuross_2020_Credit David Drake

Manchmal passiert es, dass mir zufällig ein Song über den Weg läuft, der mich aus dem Nichts komplett umhaut. Das fühlt sich auf der einen Seite natürlich toll an – eine Überraschung, die kurzerhand den Tag zu einem guten macht. Auf der anderen Seite denke ich dann immer, den hätte ich doch schon lang kennen müssen. Das ist doch mein Job. Warum kannte ich den nicht?? Das hält aber meist nur kurz an und ich gebe mich gern dem Titel hin – allzu oft in Dauerrotation.

Der letzte Song, bei dem es mir so ging, ist „Done With Dancing“ von Jens Kuross – eine wunderschön zerbrechliche Ballade über das Ende einer Liebe (nehme ich an). Der Titel war die erste Single vom Debütalbum „The Man Nobody Can Touch“ des aus LA stammenden Musikers, was diesen Freitag (25.09) erscheinen wird.

Die  Musik von Jens Kuross nimmt mit ihrer besonderen Art einen seltenen Platz in der Welt ein - beschwörende Texte und verträumte Arrangements mit introspektivem, aber dennoch erhabenem Songwriting zu verschmelzen, ist ein Markenzeichen des Musikers.

Nach seinem Abschluss als Jazz-Schlagzeuger am Berklee College of Music zog Jens mit der Hoffnung nach Los Angeles, eine feste Größe in der Jazzszene der Stadt zu werden. Doch innerhalb weniger Monate tourte der introvertierte Musiker als Schlagzeuger von RY X, des clubzerstörenden Elektronik-Duos Howling und der Supergroup The Acid, bestehend aus dem DJ/Produzenten Adam Freeland, dem kalifornischen Universalgelehrten Steve Nalepa und RY X, um die Welt.

Und irgendwann begann er selbst Songs zu schreiben, was, ehrlich gesagt, eine richtig gute Idee war. Vielleicht sogar seine beste!

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Die traurigsten Lieblingssongs von Jens Kuross

Randy Newman - I think it's going to rain today
I think this might be Randy Newman's most covered song, even though he found it to be too "maudlin".  I think that the juxtaposition between the lines "Human kindness is overflowing..." and the rest of the song, as well as the titular line: "...I think it's going to rain today" to be very powerful insofar as I don't feel pulled towards either pathos or optimism.  In my book it comes across as more of a beautifully objective observation about life.      

Mark Hollis - The Colour of Spring
My perennial Talk Talk fandom extends quite enthusiastically to their frontman's solitary solo effort.  This song actually has quite a hopeful lyric, but there's an undertone of tragedy in the delivery.  At least to my ears Hollis' voice is permanently tinged with a kind of poetic sadness and once again it's the juxtaposition that generates the beauty for me.       

Simon Dawes - Execution Song
This song channels both Dylan and Morricone with a kind of youthful abandon and a Wagnerian build that I find incredibly satisfying.  It might also posses one of the last great rock guitar solos.  -But that last statement might be a bit dramatic.          

Soul Coughing - Lazybones
Not much of a drug user myself but this song's phonetically emphasized telling of a failed, heroin-induced romance has a certain nostalgic pull on me.  I first listened to it while experiencing my own tornado of adolescent, romantic confusion and managed to take away a degree of comfort.  I don't think it's all nostalgia though, this band, this album and this song are really like no other that I've heard.

Esbjörn Svensson Trio - Viaticum
This band's melodies are really something else, -brilliant in their simplicity.  And this song is a testament to how much emotion you can pull out of a simple, diatonic melody that's artfully contextualized.  On it's own it might even sound a little generic, but couched in the proper harmony it can really tug at the heart strings. 

Josin - Evaporation
I was lucky enough to be on the road with Josin for a few weeks once.  She played this song every night to close her set and I swear it got more beautiful with every performance.  

Radiohead - Motion Picture Soundtrack
Maybe our lives are all just little movies with us cast in the leading role, and what a tragedy it would be if that were the case.  -I actually don't know what Thom Yorke is getting at exactly with the lyrics beyond the standard existential angst commonly attributed to most of his writing. However this track holds a special place in my heart because in a way it's a synthesis of two of my most profound influences.  Yorke originally wrote this piece on piano but under the spell of Tom Waits he decided instead to record it on a pump organ.  That performance, combined with Johnny Greenwood's harp samples, creates an otherworldly sonic collage that's both beautiful and somber.         

Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer - Come Rain or Come Shine (Chet Baker Version)
A love song in a minor key.  I find that this version in particular emphasizes the sadness in love.  Chet's delivery adds a special je ne sais quoi to lines like "happy together, unhappy together..."  - further distinguishing it from so much of the American Songbook's sentimental clichés.  

Bob Dylan - Not Dark Yet
Few balladeers can make such a God-awfully pessimistic perspective sound so damnably noble.    

Jimi Hendrix - The Wind Cries Mary
It's amazing to think that this song was recorded as an afterthought in a spare 20 minutes at the end of a recording session with no rehearsal.  Hendrix was apparently working through an argument with his then girlfriend as he wrote it.  I can't say exactly why I'm attracted to it.  But whatever it is that's captured in the chaos of the recording session and the catharsis of the songwriting definitely ends up being greater than the sum of its parts.