Written by Maria Arroyo
Jesse Kivel shares his new release, Infinite Jess, out today on his own label, New Feelings. Described by some as his own autobiography, “‘Infinite Jess’ puts more of him — the real Jesse, as man, father, son, brother — into the open-world than ever seen, or heard, before. So evocative. So instantly transportive. The music and pitch-perfect arrangements — moody, playful, atmospheric, and unpredictable.” Jumping onboard to bring this project to life is producer Joey Genetti, and LA goers Sam Wilkes, Jeff Brodsky, and Michael David.
The album’s opening track, “Burning Man,” reads similarly to Hozier’s “Cherry Wine” with both alluring and seraphic vocals that I can’t get enough of. The brave storytelling and subtle harmonies work well with one another, creating a soothing and soft-rhythmic song. His folk-like style mixes with these ambient sounds that drive his lead single, “William,” while delivering beauty with every moment. The back and forth contrast, the ebb, and flow of this work shines so beautifully.
“Desert, Moonlight” has more of a soft R&B vibe to it that I really take a liking to. This track specifically, relates back to a place in Manhattan, that Kivel knew as his first home. Kivel’s brother shares a very vivid picture of that very place. “The paint is peeling off the walls in some spots, the kitchen is tiny and filled with the rich smell of takeout from the Palm Too steakhouse, and Jesse sits quietly by the velveteen couch in the corner.” Bringing things back down is the jazzy instrumental track “A Sharper Image.”
Kivel’s brother says that the laid-back track, “Northside,” is referring to the Northside neighborhood in Santa Monica that “locals refer to as North of Montana.”
His next song, “R&D Kitchen,” creates a nostalgic 80’s feel that appears out of the blue. He keeps his ambient and folk-driven style at the forefront of the track, but still explores other aspects of his musical abilities. “R&D Kitchen” is in reference to a restaurant near the Northside homes that were previously mentioned, and where this eatery symbolizes “a sanctuary in the most literal sense.”
The next track, “Violent Times,” is another song that doesn’t try too hard to be flamboyant or aggressive, but rather reserved, yet touching and impactful. This leads into the final song of Infinite Jess titled “Vincent,” a somber yet gratifying instrumental that truly ties everything together ever so beautifully, and effortlessly. This was a perfect song for a day like today: nothing but rain to wash out all the overthinking in my head as I watch the raindrops dance on the side of my bedroom window.
Infinite Jess is a look into Kivel‘s life and how he views his memories growing up, and where it’s gotten him to today. It’s a beautiful look into the mind of a songwriter, and how the moments and memories of one’s past can define, and redefine the art that we share with others for years to come.
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