The Magical Heights of JMSN’s †Pllajë†

JMSN - Pllaje

JMSN is one of those musicians you’ve heard countless times but never knew he was there. The former front man and founder of Love Arcade, JMSN nee Christian Berishaj has popped up in hip hop and DJ tracks over the past two years. With multiple appearances on Kendrick’s Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, guest appearances with Tyga, Kastle, Ab-Soul, and Blue Sky Black Death, his soaring voice peppered tracks on both the radio and your personal playlist without knowing.

A multi-instrumentalist and production junkie, the former Motown signee started his own record label in 2012 and released the debut Priscilla. A few months ago, his second release, †Pllajë†, was released independently, a melding of R&B and dark, haunting pop.

The self-produced †Pllajë† was released in late 2013. That funky name, †Pllajë†, means “plateau” in Albanian, and, well, this album builds into a landscape that can be as beautiful and desolate as its namesake. The ten track EP includes several musical interludes but clocks in at almost 40 minutes. That being said, the cohesion of the record is what really makes it shine.

The interludes and “singles” are held together with an incredible production aesthetic that makes the brooding pulse of “Wasted Love” sit beautifully next to the visceral “The One.” For me, the pick is “Thing U Miss,” an enchanting track composed of strings falling into a piano, a grinding beat, and a huge falsetto. On paper it looks typical, yet in your ears anything but, and might be one of the best releases in the past year.