Artists that write and record their own material entirely by themselves are the ones I admire most and so I was always going to take my hat off to Jonathan Chan aka Shekon. The Birmingham musician is literally a one-man-band from the blank sheet of paper to fully recorded EP and Last Call is his latest effort. Describing his sound as electro-folk, Shekon has a distinctive vibe that you’re unlikely to have heard elsewhere.
Essence of his Chinese roots are present in his music but only in passing. The triumphant drums and heartbreaking violins are just as strong and in fact, it’s difficult to define. So many elements of genres are there and it’s clear that Jonathan has a very eclectic taste.
The title track begins with a thumping drum and Oriental chimes. Choral voices create an epic atmosphere straightaway and it takes on a quirky offbeat character. The strong exotic flavours and relaxing personality take you far away to somewhere much warmer and quieter. Twinkling riffs from a gentle guitar and other worldly synths mean that you could be mistaken for thinking you were drifting off in a clean white paradise.
The King Tide has a slight country feel in its guitar. It’s a pretty ballad with a soft beat and an indie slant on the vocals. Again, the exotic tones and soothing rhythm are reminiscent of a lullaby and have the power to smooth your worries away. The violins add another dimension and work perfectly with the electronics which weave in and out of the layers subtly. Jonathan appears to be an expert on knowing which instruments sound beautiful together.
Ending on Blue Embers, the EP closes on a dark haunting track. A monotone vocal with a ghostly echo join simple instruments that eventually become juddering electronics. Distorted riffs and other-worldly vocals make for a quirky atmosphere that lingers after the track has officially ended. It haunts you and wills you to listen again.
Shekon is certainly the first artist I’ve heard with that authentic Oriental flavour. I love finding music that is different and causes me to hear and feel things that I haven’t before. Despite the fact there is little lyrical content, I still enjoyed the soothing sounds this EP gave me. It was almost as if music filled in where the words should have been and it was a great experience just to listen.