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Over thepast ten years, four solo albums, numerous 12” singles and the oddcollaboration, Canadian skateboard kid turned roving techno troubadourJake Fairley has carved out a successful career in the fuzzy hinterlandbetween the worlds of indie and dance, collecting up a loyal worldwidefollowing of big-hearted club misfits in the process. But growing up underthe influence of the indie rock scene in his hometown of Toronto in theslowly-gentrifying neighbourhood of Parkdale, the path to techno stardom wasnot always an obvious
one, and surrounded as he was by a decidedly rock-centric peer group Jake’searliest dabblings with the electronic side during the mid-nineties seemeddestined to remain a private passion.
It was only when big fish in the small local techno pond Jeremy Caulfieldchanced upon a prototypically physical Jake Fairley live performance in adowntown bar that an electronic recording career became a seriousproposition, signing Jake up for the first release on to his fledglingDumb-Unit label and forging a vital link in the North American technonetwork in the process. A series of critically-acclaimed dubby techno releaseson Berlin's trailblazing minimal label Sender soon followed - amongst whichlurked early touchstones of the emergent minimal techno scene ‘Oshawa’,‘CN Tower’ and ‘Exploder’ - leading on to his debut artist album ‘Crisis’in 2002. With this came international renown, top draw techno DJ endorsement,the Kompakt
Speicher-series seal of approval, and eventually the inevitable move to Berlinto facilitate the spread of his sweaty, raw live performances throughoutEurope’s burgeoning club scene. From decidedly mumbled beginnings, theemerging vocal component of Jake’s live performances became increasinglyaggressive in the run up to 2004’s return to Dumb-Unit for the release of‘Touch Not The Cat’, and the raucous no-wave vocal live shows thataccompanied this album of bolshy pants-off electro-rock could have given T.Raumschmierehimself a run for his money.
The Fairmont strand of Jake’s recording career first emerged as an outlet forhis more romantic leanings, imbuing ten tracks of lovable bedroomelectronica with a smattering of mumbled vocal outpourings for the ‘PaperStars’ album, released by Cologne’s Traum Schallplatten back in 2002. But asidefrom a Pet Shop Boys ‘Back To Mine’ compilation appearance the Fairmontfollowing was to remain low-key and decidedly cult until 2005, when theemergence of Jake’s debut release for’ the UK’s idiosyncratic Border Communitylabel was to dramatically transform the hitherto club-shy Fairmont projectinto a serious live concern. The unassuming melodies of ‘Gazebo’ soon tookon quite a life of their own, evolving into the sort of club monster
that causes crowds to fly into raptures at the merest hint of the openingrefrain, and thereby unlocking an unforeseen world of pop-dancepossibility that would eventually find the sensitive Fairmont placed incongruouslycentre-stage at the 2007 edition of the rave-tastic Love Parade in Essen.
As welcome as the global adoration that comes attached to a club monster like‘Gazebo’ may be, eventually the time comes for the multi-facetedthree-dimensional artist to step out from behind the shadow of the massivehit, a feat which Jake achieved with aplomb with the 2007 release of the‘Coloured In Memory’ album on Border Community. Uniting the elasticatedrhythms of his trademark driving analogue machine-funk with intimate,hypnotic vocals, woozy, warm interludes and drugged-out highs, this warm andfuzzy Fairmont installment showcased the true depth and variety of Jake’stalent: for this is melodic electronic music, but with
a soul-baring sensitive singer-songwriter edge. Shot through with subtle, ifunexpected, nods to the grunge era - from the insiduous Cobain-delivery of‘Fade and Saturate’ to the stripped back guitars of ‘Time’s Fool’ - ‘ColouredIn Memory’ also saw Jake edge back musically closer-than-ever to his oldfriends in the Toronto indie rock scene, so it is no surprise that withinthis circle Jake would soon find a fruitful new collaboration.
When childhood friend and band man James Sayce found himself temporarily postedto the University of Groningen in the Autumn of 2008, Jake also decided toadopt the grey Dutch town as his European touring base, and during theircollective downtime the pair would together assemble their eponymous Bishop Moroccoalbum, where poppy, soaring new wave hooks are fused with a love of drummachines and tape hiss to produce a worthy addition to the chillwavecannon upon its 2010 release. This murky, atmospheric productionsensibility has also seeped into Fairmont’s recent solo work, as evidenced bythe psych-goth of the ‘3 Cities EP’ for Traum, and his forthcoming BorderCommunity comeback, the epic ‘Velora EP’, whose lush harmonic synthscapesand the moody vocal mantras competently straddle either side of the indie-
In the time that has elapsed since the release of his last solo album Jake hasgiven himself over
wholeheartedly to the nomadic lifestyle that is the inevitable lot of the NorthAmerica electronic music producer, flitting with the seasons betweenToronto, Amsterdam and Berlin, hauling his surprisingly-compact andthoroughly-charming all-hardware live show across the Atlantic to wedge hismumbled vocals and burbling machines into the confines of the DJ booth -or spread them across the grandeur of a stage - as the situation befits.Along the way he has managed to squeeze out a pair of Fairmont EP releases forTraum and Areal, as well as coming together with fellow outsider (techno)artists and Berlin-best-friends Metope and Pan/Tone to form the Beachcomarecord label: an island of free expression within the vast ocean of Berlin’s
minimal monoculture that has so far hosted two Jake Fairley solo offerings (‘EvaporatorEP’ & ‘Gremlins EP’).
From his current sunny base in Barcelona, Jake is now hard at work on his nextFairmont album missive, where - judging by the earliest demos – a luscious,husky and hooky songwriting component looks set to figure even morestrongly than ever.