Jauz just released one of the biggest projects in 2018. While he has done more than a good job at building the hype around his new album, upon listening I am not really sure if anything could have prepared me for this journey. The Wise and The Wicked is a concept album. It consists of 23-tracks which are divided into a prologue and four separate chapters.
In hopes of giving the reader the best possible shot at fully comprehending the vision behind this album, I have decided to break down this review into 5 parts, one for each of the album sections.
Jauz – The Wise and The Wicked: Prologue
The Wise and The Wicked starts off with an orchestral introduction track. A monologue is laid on top of a track which begins as a lullaby and ends as a powerful assault of bass. In many ways, it perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album. The Wise and The Wicked is not genre specific and features records that are light as air, as well as those which are brutally heavy.
The Prologue closes out with two more tracks, the reggaeton inspired ‘Babylon' as well as the bass house showstopper ‘In the Zone'. The latter of which features vocals from the iconic singer Example. All in all the first tracks to this album are both inspired and very exciting.
Jauz – The Wise and The Wicked: Discovery [The Wise]
The first official chapter to the LP features some major collaborations with the likes of both Krewella and Kiiara. Again the album is not simply divided up into chapters based off of genre lines or general emotional moods of the tracks. Jauz takes a more nuanced approach into how he decided which songs will land where.
Chapter one includes both future bass and trap elements scattered throughout. During this section, there are not showstopping explosions of bass or main stage anthems, but instead tempered and intelligently crafted tunes.
Jauz – The Wise and The Wicked: Wicked Nature [The Wicked]
While many may expect this section to be where things get hard – specifically because the leadoff track is a collaboration with SNAILS – Jauz continues his storytelling method of track listing.
Each track in chapter two is a club-ready dancefloor bomb. Working from a more underground-genre paradigm in this section Jauz flexes is maneuverability as a producer. While the tracks range from house, acid-techno, and future bass, they all serve a purpose. Tension is continued to be built.
The Wise and The Wicked: The Search For Meaning [The Wise]
This section may be the most unexpected for most listeners. The Search For Meaning is the most dynamic section we have heard thus far. It ranges from a stripped down dubstep collaboration with Adventure Club to a silky smooth drum & bass tune alongside Mike Waters.
The middle track is the true standout in this section though. ‘Rave With Me' starts out with an 8-bit, otherworldly beat which will immediately remind you of Porter's recent releases under his Virtual Self moniker. That being said, Jauz brilliantly injects his own style through subtle liquid bass elements which work beautifully alongside vocals from Ducky to created an elevated listening experience.
Jauz – The Wise and The Wicked: Becoming United [The United]
We have reached the final section of this outstanding album. In celebration of the final section, Jauz extended its length to more than double of any of the previous chapters. Jauz's rowdy collaboration with DJ Snake, which was featured as a single, starts off the section. Fans will immediately know that The United is not going to follow the same patterns as previous chapters.
Throughout the final section, Jauz is at his best. His signature brand of bass house can be heard in nearly every production. The closing chapter of The Wise and The Wicked ends the album on a high note, so it is not surprising that he selected the singles for the album to be included in this section.
A true standout is ‘Keep the Rave Alive' featuring Lazer Lazer Lazer. The tune is reminiscent of Wolfgang Gartner's Weekend in America brand of electro house. Jauz, of course, mixes things up with some modern era-elements, but overall this track is my pick for the top tune of this near perfect LP.
Jauz – The Wise and The Wicked: The Verdict
Overall, The Wise and The Wicked is a truly captivating album. At its highest moments, it flies sky highs and demonstrates that Jauz is one of the most versatile and talented producers in the game now. At it's worse moments, it isn't even bad, just uninspired. Luckily, these moments are few and far between. It is near impossible to nail every single tune on an album of this magnitude but Jauz comes pretty damn close.
In a year where we have seen unbelievable albums such as Golden Features' SECT, Alison Wonderland's Awake, What So Not's All The Beautiful Things, and Kasbo's Places We Don't Know, The Wise and The Wicked still manages to stand out as a top contender, and that is really saying something. Check out the full album below.