New York born Chelonis R Jones has lived in Europe for the past decade, making his mark as a songwriter, painter and poet. He has a unique sound and powerful voice, unmistakable in a rapidly homogenised world. Hugely driven to create he is an original artist in every medium he chooses for expression; provocative, daring, insightful, humorous and eccentric but always distinct. Some artists choose to over-blow the truth of their past, with Chelonis you can rest assured its all true. Before concentrating on his solo music, he had performed in numerous rock groups and written for a number other acts. His current side project is the band Coon for which he’s completing the first album. He is also part of the forthcoming Röyksopp album co-writing the track ‘49%’, which will be the second single.
Since joining the Get Physical family 4 years ago, he’s released the alluring ‘One&One’ and popular poetic love tale ‘I don’t know’. Both tracks were co-produced and remixed by Get Physical masterminds Booka Shade and M.A.N.D.Y. but the remainder of the album is entirely his own work. ‘Dislocated Genius’ is an utterly personal, introspective and daring debut. His work with Get Physical is Chelonis’ first steps in the field of dance music, springing from a chance meeting with Booka Shade’s Arno in the pop world. The label have given him a base to express his dangerous and provocative side, with free rein to explore dark and introspective themes not usually found in dance music. Having never even owned a computer; Chelonis chose the onerous task of self-producing. He wrote all the lyrics, programmed the beats, sang every note, and created the album artwork.
‘Blackface’ explores the myth of the black entertainer, the womanising stud cliché of RnB and disco music. Deep sub bass and twisted fx that growl ever stronger under Che’s riling words and audience applause. The cover illustrates the theme of ‘Blackface’, somehow recognisable and darling but if you look a second time there’s something slightly unsettling about the image. Now would be a good time to point out that there’s no militant racial agenda for Chelonis, but if you’re a black artist hailing from America, it’s hard to wash over the tired and dated stereotypes you’re mostly forced to push against. Strange but infectious ‘Middle Finger Music’ comes on strong with psychotic noise before pulling back to a controlled beat bristling with glitches and evolving into a strong rumbling bassline with uplifting melody. The words inspired by Chelonis’ first week in Europe; arriving with just the money in his pocket, no ticket home, and surviving on the edges of near-illegal madness. In the tuneful 4/4 of ‘Vultures’ you can almost imagine the flesh eaters circling our artist. Understated beats, sweeping FX and undulating melodies soar around Che’s personal tale of social mistrust and the suspicion suffered when you’re constantly bruised, used and abused.
‘The Hair’ has dislocated industrial beats and eerily dischordant melody perfectly complimenting this vengeful tale. Wasn’t there a relationship you had where you felt you were never good enough, that left a bitter aftertaste, wouldn’t you like to be that hair in their cuisine? ‘I don’t know’ is the second part of a love story trilogy on the album, an exquisitely produced slice of deep electro house lifted by Chelonis’ passionate tale about the break up of a relationship. Wistful atmospheres, inviting bass and beats combine for the albums most enticing dancefloor moment. The standout ‘Mythologies’ is ripe with textured soundscapes, forceful beats and unfussy production. Every part seems carefully considered but delicately unpolished and utterly memorable. ‘LA Mattress’ has angry noise and provocative beats with quirky Chelonis touches. His vocal explores the LA problem of never having or being enough, a constant cycle of judgement and want. Hardcore in attitude, but with humour and charm.
The low slung 4/4 funk of ‘NaNaNa’ builds with spacey melodies, rasping textures and Chelonis’ sweet but dry delivery. A positive message of staying true to yourself no matter what the haters say, because “when you die, the dirt won’t smile at your Chanel”. ‘Deer in the headlights’ is arresting from the opening chords. Deep sub bass and synth stabs with Chelonis’ rousing vocal and electronic beats. ‘One&One’ is the first part of the love trilogy, so it’s not in an obvious order… this is dislocation after all. A sweet but slightly twisted love story wrapped in a blanket of deep disco beats and tingling textures. ‘Debaser’ was rewritten three times as Chelonis sought “that purple sound, on crack” because you can be whatever you want to be, in the moment. ‘Le Bateau Ivre’ is the final part of the love trilogy; so much love it turns to hate, all that’s left is revenge and thirst for the new. Rumbling sub bass, grumbling soundbeds, sci-fi clicks and spacey synths underpin Chelonis' pop-catchy haunting vocal.