Review: Jaguar Sun and Jesse Maranger – Blooms EP

by | Apr 26, 2021 | BandCamp, LPs and EPs, Mix Reviews, Reviews, Videos, YouTube

Chris Minielly of Jaguar Sun and Jesse Maranger have been close friends for a number of years. They met at work during a safety meeting, and found that they were both songwriters. Before they knew it, they were supporting each other in live sessions, and getting input from each other as they prepared to release music. So it made sense for them to release a split EP (released through Born Loser Records).

Blooms is half Jesse Maranger and half Jaguar Sun. They both have two songs on the four-track EP, and they made minimal contributions to each other’s songs. The EP begins with the title track, Blooms, which is by Jesse, followed by Sunset, by Jaguar Sun. Their sense of contribution was more of a quiet service, lifting the other’s song while not drawing attention to themselves in the process.

Jaguar Sun and Jesse Maranger – Sunset (YouTube)

They both have their own home studio setup. What made recording the EP tricky was the differing DAWs. Jesse has a folk-based style, beginning with an intentional songwriting process, while Jaguar Sun’s sound centers around haunting guitars with trailing atmospheric reverbs which he builds on. They both use drum loops, though Jesse’s are mixed in a way so they sound earthy. Their vocals are both spaced in reverb and layered.

Blooms has a curious patterned synth that sounds a bit like an organ. The song opens the EP with the desire for intimacy and closeness. Jesse gently sings, “Open all of the windows, and let in the April air. Tell me your secrets and I’ll tell you all the things that I regret. Look at me now. Who am I, and what have I done?”

Jaguar Sun and Jesse Maranger – Sunset (YouTube)

Sunset opens with a bright distinctive drum pattern, designed with the Native Instruments Maschine. Jaguar Sun’s fingerprint is evident in Sunset. His signature swooping guitar slides that echo ad infinitum create a moody tension of hope and the not yet, and is complementary with Jesse’s gentle soul-searching.

A favorite track on the EP, Autumn Fire, is one I’ve placed on repeat (I can say the same with all four songs). The percussion is complex, and Jesse’s melody plays off the beat, mixing in a dark vocal plate. Guitar layers have five distinct sounds that slip in and out of the song: electric guitar melody (with a tube amp sound), classic guitar picking, atmospheric electric slide, a more distorted electric guitar melody, and a complex electric guitar hammering technique. They all mix together to create a restless wandering.

Jesse Maranger and Jaguar Sun – Autumn Fire (YouTube)

All I wanna do is put a record on.
All I wanna feel is some gravity.
Put down my phone, I am still listening.
When I was young, I danced to everything.”

Jesse Maranger – Autumn Fire

Rain Pours has a chorus tinged guitar and an acoustic guitar that blend nicely. The song places you on your back staring up at the overcast sky, where you feel as though you’re floating away from the earth. It’s a song of longing, echoed by the dark guitar strumming and soft vocals set in a large chamber. Synth notes ping pong at the end, and a singular piano note is struck, ending the split EP with solidarity.

Listening to these songs together, they create a special experience that feels seamless. Blooms is a remarkable EP, a unique split album that feels cohesive in every note.

You can order the EP on cassette. Canadian listeners can order directly from Jesse or Chris. US residents can order from Born Loser Records.

Jaguar Sun links:

Jesse Maranger links:

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