An LA-based trio who came together through an online ad and a common friend just released their 6-track album with long tracks that go up to 9 minutes. Daniel Cleland: the guitarist and vocalist of the band met Jason Damiano on bass through an online ad where they were searching for like-minded musicians. They’ve been taking part in projects across LA, then they brought in Arjun Bruggeman, who was a friend of Jason’s to play on drums. Mountains of Jura are mainly inclined towards the shoegaze genre with hints of indie and progressive rock. They are mainly influenced by Slowdive, Auburn lull, Mogwai, and Sigur Ros.
Listening to the whole album, I could spot a few common elements in all the songs, the soft, sweet, and simple guitar tunes. The intros of the songs are long and elaborate, leaving space for setting the mood of what’s about to come next, and the vocal line is more of a poem, a recitative. They are simple in their performance style, yet rich and deep in meaning. All the songs have the same musical context and theme throughout the album, which doesn’t cause discomfort and leaves the element of surprise out. They are all elaborations of ongoing conversations, unresolved feelings, and ongoing emotions, where they all complement one another, like collection pieces that all fit together. ‘Standard Candle ‘ has a steady, metronomic-like beat with an interesting bass line, maintaining a simple theme throughout with simple guitar tunes. ‘March’ is very straightforward in its harmonic concept of the 4-chord progression, yet kept interesting with a more poetic, recitative vocal style. ‘I am not a program’ had more swing with its drum line that took over the intro. While ‘San Antonio’ remains all instrumental with no vocal line, yet keeping some interesting sound effects with a scary, unsettling, and unpredictable ambiance.
The work process of how all these songs evolved from jamming sessions and brainstorming ideas is what makes it all interesting and worthwhile. The process of building up and creating something from a simple tune played on a guitar, a catchy 3-note theme on the bass guitar, or a consistent beat that you improvise on. The journey is what gives it all value and meaning.