Written for SynthGlasgow:
Over the last six years or so, Montreal’s Jacques Greene has become one of the most celebrated members of Glasgow’s wildly influential LuckyMe collective. Greene’s string of starkly emotive but club-ready EPs for the label originated and perfected an enduring trend of garage-tinged house that sampled chopped vocals from Ciara and Brandy tunes, some of which, like ‘Another Girl,’ became instant hits. While occasionally turning his hand to projects for other similarly-minded crews like London’s Night Slugs, Greene seems to have found a home at LuckyMe, and released a debut album, ‘Feel Infinite’, on the label earlier this month.
Described in press releases and interviews as “a record both about the club and for the club” that promulgates a “utopian vision of club culture”, it’s a high-minded but firmly accessible record that gathers the iconic elements of the Jacques Greene sound into a cohesive whole, matching all-out house bangers like lead single ‘You Can’t Deny’ with the likes of heart-rending opener ‘Fall’. While in many ways it’s an album to live with and feels as suited to the headphones as it would be to the club, it’s a tantalizing prospect to experience the project in a live environment, especially in the city he’s come to call a second home.
It’s with the lofty aspirations of ‘Feel Infinite’ in mind that we approach Greene’s show at the Centre for Contemporary Arts on Sauchiehall Street for the Glasgow leg of his European tour. Support comes from a pair of LuckyMe label-mates; local grime producer and rising star Inkke, and label bosses Dominic Flannigan and Martyn Flyn as The Blessings go b2b for an hour before Greene’s live performance commences at the opposite end of the room.
Starting with ‘Fall’, the bulk of the set rearranges the album, gradually building in energy with slow burners first and high octane singles last. But while the zestful, bassline-heavy ‘Real Time’ and ‘To Say’ succeed in getting the early evening crowd moving, it’s the tracks which place more emphasis on evocative vocals and melodies rich in atmosphere that prove most affecting. ‘Dundas Collapse’ and ‘You See All My Light’ sound gargantuan in the space, and the blissed-out, sparkling synths of the latter track spark a hair-standing-on-end moment that’s topped only by Greene closing out the set with ‘Another Girl’.
The night is short and sweet, serving as a showcase for a great album and body of work; but it’s clear that, much like his previous EPs, Greene’s latest creations will really come into their own when they’re played out in the coming months and years – it’s a nicely cyclical thought that ‘Feel Infinite’ is going to soundtrack the kind of nights that produced it.
Jacques Greene – ‘Feel Infinite’ is available now on digital and vinyl formats via LuckyMe.