Earlier this year, Tom Trago established the DIY label Jong Nederlands as a vehicle for the improvised, straight-to-tape tracks he records every day at his home studio in Bergen, a sleepy town on the Netherlands’ North West coast. His intention was to surprise and inspire in equal measure, delivering emotive musical material crafted with a small selection of electronic instruments, drumcomputers and effects units.
It’s down to this ethos that no two label releases follow the same direction – as listeners will discover when they tune in to this speedy sequel to JNL001, which hit stores early in the year. Opener “From Above” is poignant and melancholic, with bittersweet synth-strings, spacey motifs and bubbly lead lines riding a lo-fi drum machine groove, while the track that follows, “Young Janet”, offers warmth in morning-fresh musical sunshine via rich Rhodes motifs, chunky drums and sparkling synthesizer riffs.
Darkness, and late-night intensity is provided by title-track “You Deserve Better”, a mind-mangling, acid-fired excursion where trippy, razor-sharp TB-303 lines rise above tough but dusty drums and a suitably weighty bassline. Trago’s basement-bothering intent can also be heard loud and clear on the EP’s final excursion, “Passenger Seat”. Here he readies an imaginary starship for take-off, reaching for flighty, Italo-disco style lead lines, increasingly forthright motifs and the kind of crunchy electronic drums that have long been a feature of futuristic and far-sighted machine music.
The sleeves are all hand stamped by Pieter Bijwaard