If you’re looking for an artist who’s output reflects modern society, then there aren’t many who’s work explores themes of ethnicity, sexuality and politics sharper than North eastern born, London based, Jennifer Walton. Taking the dance/ industrial space by storm, Walton’s recent output has included video production, graphic art and music production, all linked together by a common theme which both challenges and evokes the audience.
It’s this challenge which is brought out most clearly in her live music show, with the use of menacing, dark, claustrophobic sounds to replicate the emotions of a society wrapped in fear and in the midst of a mental health epidemic. Close in philosophy to Massive Attack, but musically to Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails and Jilted-generation era Prodigy, Walton’s music is dark, introspective and bass heavy. Use of irregular samples and drum beats which kick in and out of time, create a soundtrack which fits perfectly in an environment where short term memory attention is now only 8 seconds, and where we exhaustively search for our next hit of dopamine. Like life this music is simultaneously beautiful and painful. It’s also incredibly interesting and thought provoking.
Set just as much around performance art as it is around the music, Walton, dressed all in black, cackles and fizzes over a stack of effects which make her production look hard to make; but harder for the audience to work out how it’s made.
Both her work, her sounds and her image will inspire many in the future. Let’s just hope people pay attention to what she is saying.