Jabu — Do You Have Peace

Jabu -— a three-piece consisting of Jasmine Butt, Alex ‘Bogues’ Rendall and Amos Childs — have returned after their debut LP Sleep Heavy with a ponderous and heart-aching self-titled cassette tape for the label, Do You Have Peace? While previous EPs from the Bristol trio have moved between Hip-Hop, Soul and even Dancehall (with Seekers International), their latest builds on the themes and style found in their debut album. Sleep Heavy was the first Jabu release to include singer Jasmine, now a full member of the group, whose iridescent voice slipped in and out of the album’s dream-like pathways. For this tape, the poems of spoken word artist, Daniela Dyson, offer an assertive contrast to Alex and Jasmine’s singing. Like shards of sunset slipping through dense leaves, we just about catch glimpses of heartfelt words that yearn to be reunited with someone. Jasmine and Alex’s songs weave in and out of one another with faint and sporadic thoughts of longing. When Daniela’s spoken word enters candidly onto the canvas, a narrative begins to clear. “How did it go?” and, “Please text me when you land,” she says, supposedly speaking to someone distant. Soon, the drifting moments from Jasmine and Alex become echoes of Daniela’s feelings, emphasising a lingering on them. “Said you were coming but you never do,” sings Jasmine; “The temperatures raise. You Couldn’t send me away. I need to see you again,” repeats Alex. Thoughts flutter between disappointment and desperation. There is a plea to understand and see each other which drives the narrative towards a possessive side of love, shrouded in uncertainty. Although Alex’s and Jasmine’s words remain wistful, Daniela’s eventually settle into an assured acceptance. She recites three poems in the tape and in the last it appears she has come to terms with her situation. She has found peace. ‘Mira’, the last track, spoken entirely in Spanish over a backdrop of Jungle breaks, takes her back to the Colombian countryside. Before, her thoughts lingered on the frail timeline of Love. A bittersweet knowledge that Love is beautiful because of its inevitable end. She had accepted its incredible pattern, freeing her from the grief of expectation. Now, there is a willingness to let her soul be torn between laughter and tears. ‘Pa’delante,’ (Keep moving forward) she repeats. Savour every moment, every feeling, ‘Para que nunca me digan que no cumplí mi único deber.’ (So that you may never tell me that I did not fulfill my only duty). Jabu give Daniela’s poetry space and the result is striking. Her poignant choice of words conjure up images without wasting a syllable. Coupled with Alex’s and Jasmine’s delicate tones, there is a sincerity and harmony that floats along the otherworldly atmosphere created by the music. Cascading strings, woodwind melodies and field recordings all contribute to the mood. Although there are tinges of Jungle and RnB, the mood is light, innocent and reflective; the musings of love are not turbulent or lustful. The hiss, crackle and low swathes of hardware simmering in the background — the bread and butter of Jabu’s sound — befits the tape format, allowing the music to ebb and flow between styles whilst seemingly never stopping; a passing of time. With each listen, the artist’s words come through in a new light gifting us a different perspective, another moment to savour.