Music Reviews

New Week, New Release: Juju’s “Maps & Territory”

It’s very rare that I’m sent a release that I have great difficulty writing about because I just can’t put what I’m hearing into words accurately. However this is the exactly the situation I’ve been put into with Juju’s Maps & Territory, out this Friday May 31st on Fuzz Club records. These 7 tracks are something I can crudely describe as atmospheric, exotic stoner rock- yet reducing the music to simply that is doing it a great disservice. Maybe I’m out of my element here. But trust me when I say that Maps & Territory is worth a listen- so spend your Monday off kicking back, maybe sparking up a joint and enjoying the global grooves of Juju. In the meantime, here’s a much more well informed description of of the album from Jujus press kit:

“A follow up to Our Mother Was A Plant (Fuzz Club, 2017), Maps & Territory reaffirms and at the same time transcends Juju’s unique formula. A blend of Neo- psychedelia and Mediterranean Folk, New Wave and African polyrhythms, the sound of Juju is now deconstructed, reassembled and expanded, even bordering Jazz territories with the contribution avant-garde composer and improviser Amy Denio.

Gioele Valenti, the man behind Juju

Giole Valenti’s first and self-titled LP as Juju’s was released in 2016 via American label Sunrise Ocean Bender. By that time he was no fresher in the Psych scene: in 2014 he had joined forces with Nicola Giunta, writing the lyrics for and co-producing the debut LP of Lay Llamas, Østrø (Rocket Recordings). The album very quickly became a classic of the Italian Occult Psych genre. The following years Valenti supported Goat on tour all across Europe, playing with Lay LLamas and also as the guitarist for Josefin Öhrn And The Liberation. In 2017 Valenti started his collaboration with Fuzz Club. That same year, the band intrigued the crowds of Liverpool Festival Of Psychedelia, and in 2018 they were one of the highlights at Fuzz Club Eindhoven festival.

Juju’s debut drew inspiration from Earth magic and Mediterranean neo-paganism as a pretext to tell the story of the current African exodus. The follow up was a lysergic and pantheistic tribute to the archaic and man’s metaphorical descendance from plants: a clear allusion to common source of humanity and to the equality of all men, reflected in the symbolic cover photo of the black motorcycle gang, A Chosen Few.

The new album, coming out in a time of Trump’s America, Brexit Britain, disobedient Italy, walled Hungary and French Gilets Jaunes, reflects on the ever expanding and contracting reality of the territory, against its physical and ideological representation on the map. Titles like “Master and Servants” (a jam between a Tuareg tribe and a Krautrock ensemble), “Archontes Take Control” (an Ethiopian Jazz flavored suite of Psych and electronic music) and “God Is A Rover” (a long hypnotic ride between Psych and Electro-Clash).

Maps & Territory is beautifully wrapped in the artwork of Marco Baldassari (Sonic Jesus), where the liquidity and movement of the Mediterranean blue (the territory) is counterpoised to the soily color of the ground (the map).”

Get Maps & Territory here.

Follow Juju here