Jalyn - Phosphene (2008)

Jalyn
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Music was extremely accessible as Jalyn was growing up; whether it was witnessing his father directing the church choir, or his exposure to records played by his older siblings -- all nine of them. Even though he started singing while still a toddler, Jalyn started flexing musical muscles on a personal concert one Christmas day. He could never go wrong digging out an old Jackson 5 album from his older brother's collection for accompaniment purposes. A career was now born. Piano lessons were next in developing composition skills. Later, a deep appreciation of hip-hop flowed over into his performances, starting out as a DJ for various parties, followed by various regional stage shows during his high school years.

Music was extremely accessible as Jalyn was growing up; whether it was witnessing his father directing the church choir, or his exposure to records played by his older siblings -- all nine of them. Even though he started singing while still a toddler, Jalyn started flexing musical muscles on a personal concert one Christmas day. He could never go wrong digging out an old Jackson 5 album from his older brother's collection for accompaniment purposes. A career was now born. Piano lessons were next in developing composition skills. Later, a deep appreciation of hip-hop flowed over into his performances, starting out as a DJ for various parties, followed by various regional stage shows during his high school years.

Jalyn's list of musical influences hits nearly every genre, from John Coltrane to A Flock of Seagulls. And tastes in life are widespread, too, especially "the sound a Rhodes piano makes" and "melodic landscapes." These tastes are largely amalgamated and translated onto Jalyn's sophomore album, Phosphene. This sonic adventure, which totals just less than thirty minutes, drops Tommy Boy Records electrofunk, Kraftwerk Euro overtones, and ambient soundscapes a la Portishead.

While the varied backdrops provide an interesting musical landscape on Phosphene, the overall results are a mixed bag, ironically due to the lack of vocal adventurousness. Jalyn's steady baritone rarely stretches on this excursion, even though both the lyrical premise of the songs and the beats vary widely. When he does bust out of his mellow vocal shell - on a sweet sixties pop influenced, "Do What You Do," the disc shines. Other strong cuts include "Drift", which sneaks in tidbits of Jamiroquai's sassy soul; and the first single, "The Perfect Day," brimming with a John Legend bubbly soul feel.

Jalyn possesses a lot of moxy and shows it on Phosphene. It is a solid album musically. However, his vocal limitations reduce the overall power of the disc and may lead him to a more appropriate future role as a songwriter/producer rather than as a performing singer.  His wealth of musical knowledge and flexibility, all originating with his time listening to Jackson 5 albums back in the day, could be a valuable commodity in the music industry.

By Peggy Oliver

 
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