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MP3 Jonathan Seet - Melatonin

Dark poetic pop

11 MP3 Songs
POP: Delicate, ROCK: Modern Rock

Many a music fan has remarked that there is something unsettling about Jonathan Seet''s music, something that can''t quite be articulated. His latest album, Arousal Disasters, is a collection of compelling and emotionally engaging songs; ranging from lusty rock numbers to understated, down-tempo ballads, the listener cannot help but be captivated by Seet''s soaring vocals and sensual lyrics.

Indeed, Seet is first and foremost a poet''s songwriter: few artists these days in any genre can match his masterful wordplay, subtle irony, and command of metaphor, synesthesia and paradox. Nevertheless, perhaps his most important tool is that of juxtaposition, which pits delicate melodies and harmonies against the seedier aspects of love. A sort of romantic ambivalence informs Disasters, one suggesting that despite our most honourable intentions, our relationships are doomed to be corrupted by our baser instincts. Critics praised his efforts, describing the "lush and cinematic" album as "filled with perfectly-formed pop symphonies."

Disasters took shape while Seet was promoting his 2000 debut CD, Melatonin, throughout Ontario''s bars and nightclubs. This first album, cobbled together in various studios around the city over a year, introduced listeners to Seet''s unique ability to straddle the musical boundary between rock and something Canadian Music Network called "a soundtrack to a film that hasn''t been made." Though the songs appearing on Melatonin (some of which found their way onto a 2001 documentary about Ontario''s Presqu''lle Provincial Park) have singer/songwriter acoustically driven roots, they easily lend themselves to strong rock backbeats and driving bass lines.

During this period the line-up of his supporting band gradually took shape, with Dennis Mohammed (Wild Strawberries) on bass and Rob Greenway (Brilliantfish) taking up drumming duty. Their deft performance and diverse experience helped in realizing new songs written at that time, tracks that would eventually turn into the core of Disasters, the bed tracks of which were recorded over a weekend with engineer Ray Montford (Look People, Andy Stochansky) at his Soundhole Studio. Joining Seet on this album were guest musicians Lisa MacIsaac (Mad Violet) on violin, Tanisha Taitt on backing vocals for "Nasty Little Boys," and Rachel Smith on both backing and lead vocals.

Seet''s song writing is both formally narrative and conversational. Rachel Smith''s haunting vocal performance on "14 Candles" perfectly complements the content-a fictional letter to an imagined lover who perished in the Montréal École Polytechnique massacre. "Dirty Glass," meanwhile, paints a somewhat lurid scene of nightlife saturated with the scent of benders gone wrong and low-life vultures waiting to pick the remains of the protagonist''s soul. His songs concern themselves with snapshots of familiar scenes and narratives both fictional and real, simultaneously exploring the quotidian aspects of everyday life as well as more extreme situations on the fringes of the human condition.

Jonathan Seet concentrates on aesthetically organizing human experience, subtly navigating the boundary between realism and surrealism, at times blurring their distinction in dream-like vignettes that refer to our lives by the thinnest of threads.

Among Jonathan''s other artistic output includes remixing and producing other artists as well as film scoring, including a short BravoFACT-funded film which screened at the 2004 Sundance festival.

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