Thursday, January 17, 2008

Who? Jomi Massage: "Jomi is for music lovers who have no need of control or needs [sic] to learn a lesson or two about it"

"in 1995 i bought a bag, it was blue and shaped in soft curves that made me think of a female body. inside it i found one of the first electric massagedevices, made in the early 60's and at that time it must have been considered very daring.

it was called jomi massage.

the manual showed me pictures of naked women, nipples and skin."

So goes the story, in her own words, of naming the alter ego of Danish singer Signe Hoirup Wille-Jorgenson. Assuming the moniker Jomi Massage because a "massagedevice" [sic] is intended to, ahem, relieve tension and this is what she hopes to do with her musical output, the name really is just the beginning of her often controversial and always thought-provoking 'stunts'.
A pretty persuasive example of this would be the time she opened at Danish festival Spot in 2005. Signe had placed microphones in her clothing and shocked the entire audience by ending up naked on stage in front of them. The reason for this? She wanted, as she undressed, the audience to hear the sounds of the textiles and fabrics (the piece is entitled Undressing Aloud). She ended the set by playing a few songs on her acoustic guitar...still naked.
Or how about her album Skandinaviske Klagesange (Scandinavian Elegies)? This was due for release in 2006, but Morningstar Records decided against it amidst the Danish political crisis resulting from the Jyllands Posten controversy. Why? Jomi Massage appears on the cover garbed in a burqa made of the Danish flag.
So what about the music? Can it live up to all these 'artsy' capers?
Well, in the main, yes. The music of Jomi Massage is fairly experimental; often minimalistic, sometimes electronic, sometimes verging on noise-pop, with definite punk influences, but imbued with trenchant melancholy (this is not as oxymoronic as it sounds when you actually have a listen!) and fragility. Definitely hard to pigeonhole, it works better in some places than others, but this music is certainly worth a listen...just don't get too hung up on its pretentious ideals. In her up-swings and down-swings, Wille-Jorgenson can sound like Beth Gibbons of Portishead (Like Weather), Amy Lee of Evanescence (I See Those Who Died) and even Adult (A Meeting). She says that she draws inspiration from the likes of Patti Smith and John Cage.
Starting out in a band called Murmur after hearing the Breeders' album Pod and being amazed by hearing such rock music being played by women, she has worked with various people and acts since then. Wille-Jorgenson is currently one quarter of Copenhagen band Speaker Bite Me (you can view some of their videos at the band's website) and also frequently plays with big bands (as in orchestras, not referring to levels of fame) and classically-trained musicians.
30-something Jomi Massage's first full-length album in English, From Where No One Belongs, I Will Sing, was first recorded in 2005. It was then re-recorded two years later and will be released on February 18th 2008. True, it is unlikely to cause major waves, but I do think that the ripples will be worth sticking around for.

Visit Jomi Massage at MySpace or at her own website.

Want to read about some more Danish music? Check out my previous post on Heidi Mortenson.


--Bamboo Blitz-- said...

Nice review! I really liked "Like Weather"--a really sexy track....

Divinyl said...

Thanks BB :o) She's interesting hey? In a good way!

Ralf said...

Sehr geiles Ding, very nice!