Home Preview Preview: Junior Boys @ Black Cat, 2/24/23

Preview: Junior Boys @ Black Cat, 2/24/23

Preview: Junior Boys @ Black Cat, 2/24/23

Junior Boys (By Hollie Pocsai and Dilyara Mukhamedzhanova)

Candian R&B duo Junior Boys have returned with a fantastically synthy new album, Waiting Game, released last year via City Slang.

The band now hits the road for the first time in a stretch, and they perform at Black Cat in DC on Friday, Feb. 24.

Six years since their last album, 2016’s Big Black Coat, Waiting Game finds producers Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus in a tender and contemplative mood; a switch-up from their punchy, R&B-infused dance melodics.

In the years since making Big Black Coat, Greenspan co-produced and mixed two albums for Jessy Lanza (2016’s Oh No and 2020’s All The Time, both on Hyperdub), cared for and then mourned his father, and built a recording studio in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. In early 2020, Didemus joined Greenspan in Hamilton, jamming and recording for several weeks before returning home; by March, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the world into lockdown.

In this uncertain period, drawing from Didemus’s co-writing and musicianship, Greenspan wrote and recorded Waiting Game.

Watch the official music video for “Waiting Game” by Junior Boys on YouTube:

In the spring of 2020, Greenspan walked Hamilton’s lake and waterfall trails and listened to music by older heroes, some of whom who’d recently passed away: Florian Schneider, Jon Hassell, and McCoy Tyner along with John Martyn and Sly Stone. These gentle, world-building songs made him consider how the dynamic range of contemporary popular music has been misused, prioritizing volume over depth and detail.

“A weird fact of the perception of sound is that you hear more accurately at lower levels of volume,” Greenspan said. “You can get into a space most intensely that way, and I realized that I wanted to make a pop record that lived in that space.” Inspired, he thought, “What if I created an immersive environment of what he has named ‘peripheral music’, as it were, by recording huge amounts of material but layering it imperceptibly into as quiet a place as I can?”

To do this, Greenspan made some key moves. He employed American engineer Lou Clark, recommended to him through his longtime Mastering Engineer Bob Weston, to build a studio that prioritized a synth room and a mixing room. “It’s the best piece of gear you’ll ever have,” he said of the latter. “The mixing room is 20 decibels. When you get into it, alone, that kind of quietness puts you in a completely different headspace.”

For final mixing equipment, he paired a Studer A80 quarter-inch master tape recorder with the Dolby Spectral Recording (SR) noise reduction system. Designed to preserve the high frequencies of tape while eliminating tape hiss, the Dolby SR “is able to produce a dynamic range that is larger than a compact disc,” Greenspan said.

Buy your tickets online now!

Junior Boys
W/ Hagop Tchaparian
Friday, Feb. 24
Doors @ 8pm
All ages


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