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Somewhere at the intersection between classic narrative songwriting, instrumental experimentation, and ambient expression, McKenzie Jasper is an artist based in Atlanta, Ga, and his work focuses on the evolving self in the context of an increasingly complex society.
The name is ambiguous and multivalent as it is a moniker for the layers of identity formed by a person on a journey of realization. It is rooted in a self that is conscious of a mythic, Southern, gothic sensibility while also hearkening through lyrical prose to a harrowing realist experience. Both the real and the imagined are part and parcel of McKenzie Jasper’s aesthetic vision whether through lush harmonies and instrumentation or the stark open space of contemplation. His sound is often described as similar to Ben Howard, Fleet Foxes, The Head and The Heart, Bon Iver, Nick Drake, and Henry Jamison. Like these artists, McKenzie tries to let the work speak for itself as it expresses something deeply personal. MCJ is neither arrived nor complacent, but rather in a state of being on the road, always pressing on in hope of true fulfillment in an eternal realm.
His process generally employs impressionistic and collage techniques, but acknowledges strong aesthetics in any genre.
[ In the projects The Desert, Young, and Corazón, McKenzie crafts mosaics of sound. These collections of fragments orchestrate a movement of an individual person through different spaces or rooms.
The resulting art is akin to and draws influence from the work of artists such as Josh Garrels, David Crowder, Andrew Bird, Ben Howard, Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake, Bo Rinehart, David Crosby, Bruce Hornsby, Kristian Matsson, Robin Pecknold, Matisyahu, Nico Muhly, Justin Vernon, James Blake, Thom Yorke, José González, Michael David Rosenberg, Jim Croce, Blake Mills, Sylvan Esso, Matt Corby, Brett Dennen, Daniel and Lauren Goans, Henry Jamison, Jack Steadman, Trevor Powers, Colyn Cameron, Sean Bryant, Imogen Heap, Kishi Bashi, Stevie Nicks, Florence Welch, Scott Hansen, Kristian Dunn, Jack Vanzet, Francis Starlite, John Paul Roney, Neil Foot, Ray LaMontagne, Mike MacDonald, Cooper Casale, Andrew Huang, Chris DuPont, Alanna Boudreau, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Sameer Gadhia, Kelcey Ayer, Taylor Rice, Kendrick Lamar, Alexi Murdoch, Antoni Gaudi, T.S. Eliot, Rabindranath Tagore, Claude Debussy, Scott Joplin, Erroll Garner, Ludovico Einaudi, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, John Donne, Toni Morrison, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Flannery O’Connor, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Tyrus Wong, Eyvind Earle, M.C. Escher, Mark Tansey, Theaster Gates, Julie Mehretu, Arvo Pärt, Elias Marechal…
Like these individuals, McKenzie focuses on creating diverse instrumental and ambient textures beneath a rich narrative. ]
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Praise for McKenzie:
‘McKenzie Jasper takes his listener on a nostalgic journey through earthy indie folk rock textures on glowing single, ‘Children of the Sun’.
”I’m dreaming for these, these months to come, that they be brighter than the sun” croons Mckenzie Jasper’s pleasing throaty folk vocal alongside tranquil, atmospheric finger picking, immediately setting a warm and upbeat tone for what is to come. ‘Children of the Sun’ is a track which makes use of moments of minimalism before it builds into an organic and incredibly authentic folk rock band sound.
McKenzie Jasper channels a huge sense of freedom and an intrinsic feeling of wonder and enthusiasm for life in ‘Children of the Sun’ which skips with a lively, carefree heartbeat, embracing intricately thought-out arrangements which are equally as earthy and grounded as they are nostalgic and dreamy. The perfect song to explore the secrets and joys of nature and a reminder to live in the moment and make beautiful memories to cherish. ‘
–Karla Harris, When the Horn Blows
“…an emerging Georgia artist with mythopoetic lyricism and a tone that stretches from melancholic to an energetic warmth … McKenzie shares the catacombs of his heart and mind with thoughtful listeners as they ponder his impressions of both sacred and secular subject matter and his striving to find a mosaic of unity among seemingly disparate fragments… truly a remarkable experience… “ -Ron Waters, Tenuous At Best Media
‘Invenire Te’ has “Quite the feeling of Nick Drake lashing out
the acoustics under a cloud free blue sky and the vocals have that
classic folk tone that you’d expect to uncover on dusty vinyl
collections.” –Mp3 hugger, blog
Young (2018) is “a beautifully produced album of spiritual
investigation and quiet triumph. The accompaniments are ghostly, yet
resolute and confident.” –Cooper Casale, writer, fan
“..McKenzie is not afraid to go out on a limb… He draws you out of yourself, into the world as he sees it, and then allows the beauty of that place to slowly emerge.. simultaneously earthy and particular to the humble realities of man’s existence at moments and also strikingly esoteric, otherworldly even … almost eternal it its outlook … has the staying power of a classic in the American songwriter tradition... and yet, it’s the use of silence and pause in his narratives that haunt the listener most acutely… ” -Shelley Rose, Franklin Gazette
‘Similar to “Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and The Antlers to name a few.
“‘Make Us A Shelter’ has the
acoustic explosiveness of a Dodos classic”
“‘Nostalgia’ breaks its own psychedelic ground.” –Jack McConnell, fan
/PS/kee/JCM iz near