Introducing Django Django’s masterpiece, “Off Planet,” is an honour and a pleasure. Ed Barrett here, and I must say, this album is a kaleidoscope of musical brilliance. From the fusion of Middle and Far Eastern influences to the infectious jazz undertones, Django Django have crafted an extraordinary collection that transcends boundaries and showcases their musical prowess. With tracks that range from hooky anthems to sophisticated hip-hop gems and everything in between, “Off Planet” is a sonic adventure that demands your attention. Join me as we dive into this mesmerising journey and discover the depths of Django Django’s extraordinary talent.
Comes across as a fusion of middle and far eastern influences with a jazz palate, a squelchy bassline, and a very danceable beat. Already a grower on my third listen – makes me want to jump in an open-top car and go on a road trip.
COMPLETE ME, ft Self Esteem
BOOOOOM! You simply have to turn up the volume on this track, which is more hooky than an angler’s hat. An absolute, shivers-down-the-spine corker, musically a great choice for the first single, with a glorious message to boot. Play it anywhere where other people can hear it, whether that’s a low-key barbecue to the world’s biggest dance-floor, and you’ll be hounded for rewinds and to turn up the volume. Quite right too – it’s one of the tracks of the year for sure.
This would be a great track for Django Django to open a set with. Brass, drums, woodwind – it’s like a marching band heralding the arrival of musical royalty, with an elegiac edge that makes it sound somehow nostalgic for the present day. (And if that description doesn’t get me into Private Eye’s Pseud’s Corner, nothing will).
HANDS HIGH, ft Refound
Flirts with dissonance in a very sophisticated way, turning what could have merely been a catchy hip-hop ditty into something far more interesting, like a playground nursery rhyme reimagined by Ben Wheatley. Deserves a psychedelic video to accompany it, if it doesn’t already have one.
LUNAR VIBRATIONS, ft Isabelle Woodhouse
If Osaka would make a great opening track live, the gentle, warming waves of this sundown track would make it a great closer, with Isabelle Woodhouse’s vocals sounding like Annie Lennox at her best.
DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL, ft Yuuko
I lived in Japan for a while, but don’t understand Japanese well enough to decode this, unfortunately! Well, whatever Yuuko is rapping about, she seems to mean it. I expect it’s a grower, but wouldn’t be surprised to hear several remixes lifting it to another level.
BACK TO BACK, ft Patience
More evidence of Django Django’s ever-growing musical sophistication, and proof that sometimes less really is more. At first listen seemingly verging on simplistic, it’s fitting that this track is a collaboration with Patience, as it really opens up to repeated listening.
The closest track on the album to pure jazz, and another real grower (unless, that is, you’re allergic to jazz flute).
As the title might suggest, tailor made for an impromptu, low-key after-club gathering back home.
An unusual juxtaposition of a warm, gentle, almost hymn-like vocal over synth chords and a military beat.
NO TIME, ft Jack Peñate
If Squid Inc is jazz, this is laid-back, gospel-tinged house that sounds like it belongs on the terrace of one of those secret Ibizan bars you accidentally stumble across and never want to leave.
A NEW WAY THROUGH
Not sure about this one yet. Will it be a grower? Time will tell.
GALAXY MOOD, ft Toya Delazy
THE OH ZONE
To me, there’s something about this smooth, tweety, powerful-yet-laid-back track is reminiscent of Leftfield. Perhaps it’s the chunky baseline, the sampled vocals, the almost lilting melody. Whatever it is, it works.
DEAD MACHINE, ft Stealing Sheep
Nice. Very nice. Could imagine Roisin Murphy covering this one, with backing from Add N to (X).
Dark-edged, retro-futuristic disco-pop with more than a hint of funk, if that funk was channeled by The Chemical Brothers. The sneakily anthemic vocals become more compelling on each listen.
Perhaps the most recognisably Django Django-esque track in the collection. Wouldn’t’ve sounded out of place on their eponymous debut album. Simply infectious.
A chunky, chugging builder of the sort that many a DJ will use to build dance-floor energy with plenty of added smoke machine, before taking the roof off. More hints of The Chems, particularly Star Guitar.
WHO YOU KNOW ft Bernado
A slow burner that could almost be a tribute to Massive Attack, in a very good way. Instant classic.
Something of the ’80s about this one, which could be a cover of a lost Depeche Mode track, with a hint of The The thrown in for good measure.
On first listen, a piece of folkish neo-country with a beat, that has me wondering if I can find anyone to do a bootleg mash-up of this and Dolly Parton’s Jolene. I’m now hearing hints of an imagined Gomez collaboration with Driving Away From Home-era It’s Immaterial.
Django Django’s Off Planet is more like a mini festival than an album; or, as the band’s own press release has it, “bluesy pop to Middle Eastern cabaret to Afro acid and piano rave, to call it kaleidoscopic is putting it mildly”.
Overall, it’s a compendium that’s full of ‘showers and growers’, that will surely reward repeated listens; though my one nagging question is, might it have even more impact if slimmed down just slightly?
I’m not entirely sure which tracks I’d leave out, however, as there’s little to nothing here you could accurately describe as filler; and some of those tracks that didn’t hit so hard on a first listen are already evolving like fine wines exposed to the air.
Django Django are as capable as anyone at producing tunes so catchy they’re positively infectious, or dropping dance-floor destroyers. They might simply have come up with a fun – though perhaps more disposable – party album, and we would have loved them for it.
What they’ve given us here instead is a collection that showcases the depth and breadth of their musical chops, with top-level production values, great variety, and a lot of subtlety. I suspect a lot of people will be listening to this mega-album for a long time to come, and I can’t wait to see how the band bring this stuff to life in person.
Immerse yourself in the captivating sounds of Django Django as they embark on their highly-anticipated UK tour, bringing their mesmerising music to life in a series of unforgettable live performances. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness their incredible talent at Phase One in Liverpool. For more details and tickets, click here.