One of my favorite parts about participating in a music festival is the opportunity to inevitably expose my palate to new sounds, musicians, and bands. When lespecial announced the lineup of their sixth lespectacle music festival (happening this Saturday at the Paper Box in Brooklyn), I knew my music consciousness was in for a cosmic expansion. In my humble opinion, Luke (bass), Jonny (guitar) and Rory (drums) shatter sonic boundaries, bend genres, and embrace musical experimentation with more energy than any band in the scene right now. Because of this, I knew lespecial would serve my ears some salacious new sounds as I dove into the catalogues of each outfit at lespetacle 6. So with this, I introduce you to Ross Jenssen, and segue into the band’s profile.
I had never listened to Ross Jenssen before studying the lineup of lespectacle, and was incredibly refreshed after listening to their 2015 album, Phrases. In my opinion, bands that jam and experiment with the heavier elements of rock are few and far between in this day and age. This is one of the reasons I love lespecial, and this is one of the reasons I was immediately drawn to Ross Jenssen. When you attend a festival these days, you rarely hear groups perform tracks as aggressive as lespecial’s “Leap’s Evil” or Ross Jenssen’s “Balderdash,” and whenever I hit an event where lespecial performs, everyone I talk to unanimously agrees they performed the most unique, distinct set of the weekend. I catch the exact same vibe from Ross Jenssen.
I hate to say it, but bands are more and more starting to sound the same in our music scene, so it’s such a breath of fresh air to hear a group like Ross Jenssen break this trend by fusing the sounds of Primus and Nine Inch Nails into their master recordings and live performances. To take this divergent experimentation one step further, songs like “Rabble Rouser” deploy elements of hard-hitting electronic music as a feature of the composition, kind of like lespecial’s “Fruit Wolf Dance.” For someone who loves experimental bass music but chases skilled instrumentation, Ross Jenssen is the perfect storm of musical influences.
The band, comprised of Brian Ross (bass), Jules Jenssen (drums) and Sam McGarrity (guitar), hails from Western Massachusetts and is coming out of a self-proclaimed hiatus to make noises at lespectacle 6. This is a rare one-off performance you won’t want to miss, and a select handful of pre-sale tickets are still available at this link. I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces on Saturday, but in the meantime, enjoy this video of Ross Jenssen performing “Balderdash” at Disc Jam 2015.