Jookabox has decided to throw in the towel, and The Eyes of the Fly is their last cryptic transmission. This recording is the final chapter in the history of a band as bizarre, anxious, and confusing as the music it makes.
A band whose imagery echoes ghosts, zombies, decay, and the afterlife, inspired by life in the post-industrial land of white flight, now writes its own epitaph, carves its own headstone, and sings its swan song. May the funky frenetic compositions of Jookabox rest in chaos as beautiful as that which they created.
The group began as Grampall Jookabox, a side project that made warped, lo-fi, folk-tinged recordings in a basement for fun. Founder Moose Adamson began to tour as a one man band using loop pedals, pre-recorded beats, and live instruments. Their debut Scientific Cricket was released on Joyful Noise in 2007. Asthmatic Kitty got involved on the sophmore release, the beat and sample oriented Ropechain in 2008, which can be oversimplified as being about ghosts and Michael Jackson. Around this time Moose's old buddy Ostry (Patrick) Okerson joined the touring unit on drums. After a haunting vision during a promotional tour of Europe for Ropechain, the "Grampall" was dropped from their name.
2009's Dead Zone Boys, the first release under this streamlined name, is about zombies and the landscape of middle-American urban sprawl. The zombie part came easy: Moose grew up on the east side of Indianapolis in the 90s, an area plauged by constant recession, pandemic homicide, and racial tension. A few strong tribes chose to stay in the area despite constant warnings from fleeing acquaintances. It was this frantic energy and violence that infused itself into the Jookabox experience. Ostry dubbed drums over nearly every song when the duo recorded at Rafter's Singing Serpent Studios. When Moose's loop pedals were damaged, the group chose to find some new members to round out the sound rather than buy more pedals. Indianapolis band buddies Lisa Berlin and Benny Sanders joined the group on keys and bass, and the band toured the US and Europe in support of Dead Zone Boys for about a year.
Now in the dawn of the Mayan-predicted apocalypse, Jookabox's fourth and final installment is about humans, worms, slime, and rotting flesh. Humans as gross animals, oily and greasy. Worms writhing underground. Slime oozing and revealing true nature of things. Moose spills lyrics of sign-reading and hidden unities glowering out of the opaque everyday confusion. He calls this "glyphing"--as in reading the hieroglyphs.
Moose began rapping in elementary school and certain raucous choral moments on the record retain a quality of monstrous juvenilia. Fragmentation and multiperspectivalism have been the name of the game in hip-hop since the dawn of time (or at least since sometime during the presidency of Ronald Reagan). Thesis, antithesis, synthesis then deconstruction- Jookabox lumbers fragments formed into a Frankenstein of sound. There's a Kafkaesque vibe to The Eyes Of The Fly; disorientating with a sense of danger. Pitch-shifting, weird tuning, droning delay, pop-schizo eclecticism: all of Jookabox's characteristic ingredients are there with an added dose of darkness and verfremdungseffekt.
Though Jookabox has officially called it quits, Moose will continue to tour and record under the new solo moniker, DMA.
Jookabox is a bit paranoid. Jookabox is very much paranoid. Jookabox causes paranoia. Jookabox is more than jittery. Jookabox wonders what the hell is going on here. Jookabox looks not quite right. Jookabox makes us shift. Jookabox is not us. Jookabox is in pieces. Jookabox is not easy. Jookabox is rotting. Jookabox is recursive. Jookabox is looking into the light. Jookabox will wake up. Jookabox is gibberish. Jookabox is illustrated. Jookabox is not quite comfortable in this place. Jookabox is sweating. Jookabox is threatened. Jookabox is lucid. Jookabox is chemicalized. Jookabox writhes. Jookabox is no more. Jookabox lives forever.