It’s not everyday that I find an artist like Jamison Isaak. He releases music under the name, Teen Daze. It’s not merely that he writes great pop hooks or creates luscious soundscapes (both of which he does exceedingly well), it’s that I get this irrational feeling that he understands me.
I know, I know, this is a weird thing I project on some artists. Sure, I’d like to think that some of my favorite songwriters would get me, but that’s purely one-sided. If I found myself in a room with, say, Paddy McAloon or Tracey Thorn, I wonder if we’d really have any fruitful conversation. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d just stare at the carpet and wonder when we can go home. But I digress.
With his Teen Daze project, Isaak has been refining his idea of what pop songs and electronics can be, not unlike how the mid-nineties group Virus tried to reconcile techno, mid-tempo pop songs, and ambient music. I feel like he references a lot of sounds I enjoy: from new age music to Aztec Camera to Durutti Column and maybe a little like Sound of Ceres. Soothing electronic music with lots of major sevenths and pop hooks.
And just last week, Isaak released an EP under his own name. From the beginning with acoustic piano and pedal steel, it’s obvious why this is not a Teen Daze release. Nothing synthetic here, but it’s still that melodic wallpaper that I love.
As a special education teacher, I do a lot of paperwork and need zen-like ambient music for hours of work alone on student plans and progress reports. And as it feels like the world seems to get louder and more chaotic, I need artists like Jamison Isaak who encourage us to sit back and listen.