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Gary Clark Jr.|JPEG RAW

JPEG RAW

Gary Clark Jr.

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Gary Clark, Jr. pushes hard on the envelope in JPEG RAW.  He's grown far beyond the blues into a multi-faced presence steeped in a variety of genres, from blues to pop and prog rock to the frontiers of modern funk.  Rather than referring to a digital photo file, JPEG here stands for "Jealousy, Pride, Envy, Greed," while RAW is an acronym for "Rules, Alter Ego, Worlds." Given that kind of ambition, it's no surprise that Clark's lyrics have branched out into life's most pressing conflicts, including a plea for unity in the album opener "Maktub": "And if we don't get it ourselves/ Then we can't be mad when we don't receive the paper/ We've come too far for our seeds to continue to look back and say/ That's the way it went." 

Using a favorite vocal effect over big beats in "Don't Start (feat. Valerie June)," Clark rages when he finds his woman cheating: "Better run, better, run and hide/ Better call your God, cause oh lord I'm 'bout to kill that man." The vocal processing is an acquired taste that appears several times but does not diminish Clark's performance, his most impressive as a singer to date.  Accompanied only by his effects-free electric guitar, Clark croons the short love song "To The Ends of the Earth" in a beautiful clear voice. On the following track, "Alone Together," he switches to smooth funk mode and a falsetto that's unmistakably reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield.  "Hyperwave" gives off a refreshing vibe of Prince's rhythmic vitality.  His collaboration with Stevie Wonder, "What About the Children," is a huge success, brimming with genuine emotion and melodic joy to spare.

Clark continues his mastery of a wide variety of instruments, handling guitar, drums, synths, mellotron and percussion on most cuts. Produced by Clark and Jacob Sciba, JPEG RAW was recorded at various studios including Arlyn Studios, where it was also mixed. Loaded with effects and plug-ins, the sound, while processed, does not overdo its enhancements. From a blues cocoon, Clark is an original artist spreading his wings. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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JPEG RAW

Gary Clark Jr.

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1
Maktub
00:04:13

Mike Elizondo, Additional Production - Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Zapata, Rhythm Guitar - JJ Johnson, Drums, Percussion - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Writer - Elijah Ford, Writer, Mini Moog, Ondes Martenot - Jon Deas, Keyboards, Mellotron, Vox Organ, Programming - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Sama’an Ashrawi, Writer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

2
JPEG RAW Explicit
00:04:26

Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Drums, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, Moog, Fuzz Guitar, Programming, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer, Finger Snaps Percussion - Alex Peterson, Upright Bass, Electric Bass - JJ Johnson, Percussion - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Jon Deas, Piano, Vibes - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

3
Don't Start (feat. Valerie June)
00:03:03

Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Percussion, Lead Vocals, Writer, Drum Programmer, Synthesizer, Programming, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Alex Peterson, Electric Bass - Valerie June, Lead Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Writer - Jon Deas, Synth Bass, Hammond B3 Organ - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

4
This Is Who We Are (feat. Naala)
00:05:31

Mike Elizondo, Bass, Electric Bass, Juno Synthesizer - Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, Mellotron, String Synthesizer, Programming, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer, Wind Synthesizer - JJ Johnson, Drums - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Writer - NAALA, Vocals, Writer, Background Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Jon Deas, Synthesizer, Hammond B3 Organ, Wind Synthesizer - Phranchyze, Writer - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

5
To The End Of The Earth
00:01:08

Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

6
Alone Together (feat. Keyon Harrold)
00:04:30

Mike Elizondo, Bass - Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Drums, Engineer, Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, Background Vocals, Drum Programmer, Programming, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, FeaturedArtist - JJ Johnson, Drums - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Jon Deas, Flute, Strings, Synthesizer - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

7
What About The Children
00:04:39

Lamar Mitchell, Technician - Stevie Wonder, Harp, Vocals, Writer, Clavinet, MainArtist - Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Wah Wah Guitar, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Hand Clap, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Alex Peterson, Electric Bass - Xavier Stephenson, VocalEngineer - JJ Johnson, Drums, Percussion - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Writer - Cristian Pérez, VocalEngineer - Jon Deas, Hammond B3 Organ, Bass Synthesizer - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals, Hand Clap - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals, Hand Clap - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals, Hand Clap

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

8
Hearts In Retrograde
00:03:54

Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Zapata, Writer, Rhythm Guitar - JJ Johnson, Drums, Percussion, Writer - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Kevin McKeown, Writer - Elijah Ford, Writer, Background Vocals, Electric Bass - Jon Deas, Synthesizer, Bass Keyboards - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

9
Hyperwave
00:04:33

Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, Programming, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Zapata, Writer, Rhythm Guitar - JJ Johnson, Drums, Percussion, Writer - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Writer - Elijah Ford, Writer, Background Vocals, Electric Bass - Jon Deas, Writer, Rhodes Guitar, Synthesizer - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Daniel (Cappy Dee) Herbst, Additional Vocals - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

10
Funk Witch U (feat. George Clinton)
00:04:19

George Clinton, Ad Libs Vocals, Background Vocals, FeaturedArtist - Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Kelsey Porter, AssistantEngineer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Alex Peterson, Electric Bass - Zapata, Writer, Rhythm Guitar - JJ Johnson, Drums, Percussion, Writer - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Elijah Ford, Writer - Jon Deas, Piano, Writer, Synthesizer, Vocoder - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

11
Triumph
00:04:41

Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Organ, Percussion, Electric Piano, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, Drum Programmer, Synthesizer, MainArtist, Bass Synthesizer, ExecutiveProducer - Zapata, Rhythm Guitar - JJ Johnson, Drums - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Elijah Ford, Background Vocals, Electric Bass - Jon Deas, Piano - Zion Clark, Background Vocals - Ella Clark, Background Vocals - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Gia Clark, Background Vocals - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals - Zander Holloway, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

12
Habits
00:09:05

Mike Elizondo, Additional Production - Justin Francis, AdditionalEngineer - SCOOTER WEINTRAUB, ExecutiveProducer - Mike Bozzi, Masterer - Gary Clark Jr., Producer, Engineer, Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, Lead Guitar, Hi-String Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals, MainArtist, ExecutiveProducer - Zapata, Rhythm Guitar - JJ Johnson, Drums, Percussion, Congas - Jacob Sciba, Producer, Mixer, Engineer - Elijah Ford, Electric Bass - Jon Deas, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3 Organ, Oberheim Synthesizer - Noah Nunez, AssistantEngineer - Savannah Allee, Background Vocals - Shanan Ashlee, Background Vocals - Shawn Aleesha, Background Vocals

© 2024 Warner Records Inc. ℗ 2024 Warner Records Inc.

Album review

Gary Clark, Jr. pushes hard on the envelope in JPEG RAW.  He's grown far beyond the blues into a multi-faced presence steeped in a variety of genres, from blues to pop and prog rock to the frontiers of modern funk.  Rather than referring to a digital photo file, JPEG here stands for "Jealousy, Pride, Envy, Greed," while RAW is an acronym for "Rules, Alter Ego, Worlds." Given that kind of ambition, it's no surprise that Clark's lyrics have branched out into life's most pressing conflicts, including a plea for unity in the album opener "Maktub": "And if we don't get it ourselves/ Then we can't be mad when we don't receive the paper/ We've come too far for our seeds to continue to look back and say/ That's the way it went." 

Using a favorite vocal effect over big beats in "Don't Start (feat. Valerie June)," Clark rages when he finds his woman cheating: "Better run, better, run and hide/ Better call your God, cause oh lord I'm 'bout to kill that man." The vocal processing is an acquired taste that appears several times but does not diminish Clark's performance, his most impressive as a singer to date.  Accompanied only by his effects-free electric guitar, Clark croons the short love song "To The Ends of the Earth" in a beautiful clear voice. On the following track, "Alone Together," he switches to smooth funk mode and a falsetto that's unmistakably reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield.  "Hyperwave" gives off a refreshing vibe of Prince's rhythmic vitality.  His collaboration with Stevie Wonder, "What About the Children," is a huge success, brimming with genuine emotion and melodic joy to spare.

Clark continues his mastery of a wide variety of instruments, handling guitar, drums, synths, mellotron and percussion on most cuts. Produced by Clark and Jacob Sciba, JPEG RAW was recorded at various studios including Arlyn Studios, where it was also mixed. Loaded with effects and plug-ins, the sound, while processed, does not overdo its enhancements. From a blues cocoon, Clark is an original artist spreading his wings. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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