Jan Platek is a busy man.
I subscribed to his We Deserve This Bandcamp page last year, which gave me access to hundreds of recordings and releases – a veritable treasure trove of post-rock music waiting to be listened to. But Platek decided that these offerings were not enough. The people need more! So he created another project, going by his own name. And as if the two solo projects on Bandcamp weren’t adequate, he also releases an album through Fluttery Records from time to time.
I have over 14 hours worth of his material on my computer. Just let that sink in… He has recorded and released over 14 hours worth of material over a four-year period. And that isn’t counting side projects.
Like I said: Jan Platek is a busy man.
Smile is his latest release, out via Fluttery Records on February 24.
So how does Smile weigh up compared to the rest of his output?
Well, it’s good. It’s very recognisably a We Deserve This release. You know – brilliant post-rock that treads a balance so well between being heavy and ambient. You can rock out to it by blasting it loudly from your stereo, but could just as easily use it as relaxing background music. The album description blurb lists influences from both 90’s rock music and post-rock and post-metal genres.
It is evident that Smile had a lot of time invested into it. There are many layers and textures and melodies all linked in so masterfully. This doesn’t sound exceptional, but bear in mind that this isn’t something that just came out of the woodwork at band practice. Platek recorded this all himself, so would have spent countless hours working on each song until he felt it was perfect.
I have to award bonus marks for talent. I love how modern technology has enabled so many musicians to become the new Mike Oldfield by releasing music that they have single-handedly recorded all the instruments on. [For other examples see: Cloudkicker, Lights & Motion, Oscillate, Barouche, 10 Waves of You, Gregory Tan]. Platek’s grandfather was a music teacher, which gave Platek a good grounding with a variety of instruments. This formative education, combined with a love of music and a drive to constantly push his creative tendencies has helped Platek to refine his craft. And did I mention that he’s prolific? When you have this much practice then your music better be damn good!
To be honest, I don’t think I can rank this against other We Deserve This releases. This is not a criticism of Smile, but more of a reflection of how well I know the We Deserve This catalogue. I think you’ll forgive me for confessing that it’s hard to get to know 14 hours worth of material. I guess the risk with being so prolific is that each release struggles to stand out from within the pool of other material.
Platek loves to release singles and EP’s, so this release is uncommon for him, ringing in at 27 minutes over six tracks. So that’s one thing that Smile boasts to stand out from the rest of the collection: it’s a cohesive album that lasts long enough to sink your teeth into.
If you’re unfamiliar with We Deserve This, then you may as well use Smile as a start point. And once you’ve digested that, than you’re ready to spend a very long time discovering a lot more where that came from.
You can buy Smile from Fluttery Records here: https://we-deserve-this.bandcamp.com/releases
We Deserve This links:
Jan-Dirk Platek Bandcamp (side-project): https://jan-dirkplatek.bandcamp.com/releases