Jade Dragon - "Under Your Skin" (Jade Dragon Productions 1999, Cassette)

From Aural Innovations #8 (October 1999)

The cassette label indicates that this is part of the "Sonic Hallucinogens Series. Psychoactive Music Archives". The music is the work of Terry Ryan Kok who gave me this cassette at the Strange Daze festival. I don't know if it's entirely solo but I suspect it is. Jade Dragon offers up a combination of freaky music and some pop tunes that are definitely psychoactive in nature. The music is played by what sounds like all keyboards and synths plus a nicely fuzzy guitar that oftens borders on the acidic. There are supposed to be eight tracks on the cassette but my copy doesn't start for about 15 minutes so it seems I've missed two of the songs.

On the more pop oriented side are "Under Your Skin", "Green Magic Spell", and "Every Child Is A Star". All the songs have an uplifting feel and focus on spiritual themes, with "Green Magic Spell" being dedicated to the Late Great Faerie Shaman with the Blue Unicorns. The title track was my favorite of them though with its combination of electronica and soloing looped fuzz guitar. Acid electro-pop might be a good description. The song includes a cool extended instrumental section in which the guitar jams along still accompanied by the quirky keyboards.

"Choral X" is a bouncy upbeat electronic instrumental that the notes describe as "machine generated filler". I found "Erase The Line" to be an aggressive change of pace relative to the previous tunes consisting of electronic pandemonium, heavier percussion, a guitar freakout, and dark, mechanical spoken word vocals by Lady Fever. Finally, "Welcome Wonder" is a deep space electronic soundscape exploration. It's standard floating electronica, but much more playful and the toe tapping beat from the songs is still there. Interesting stuff. Raw, but well done homemade pop tunes and interesting musical explorations.

For more information you can email Jade Dragon at biostar_a@yahoo.com.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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