Posts Tagged ‘Ben Jaimen’

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Los Angeles. Ben Jaimen is very, very good  and his US debut EP, Through the Universe, demonstrates that in spades. A native of Germany with family in Israel and Argentina, Jaimen moves easily among those and other countries, picking up musical influences while retaining a certain humble cosmopolitan air. Music training in Israel and London, summers teaching to disabled barrio children in Cordoba, recording in Germany and LA, he has seen and given a lot. He has sung to a million people at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, written and recorded hundreds of songs, and played gigs from Berlin to Tel Aviv.

A pop rocker who writes and performs with the precision of a seasoned professional, he  knows how to hold a crowd  or  lay down  popular tracks. Most important, he is also determined  to live and sing with integrity and to be his own man. With  Through the Universe he is very much his  own man; he has produced a musical E-ticket ride and trust me, you will love every twist and bump.

Ben Jaimen,  Sylvester 2011

The Ep launches with “Satellites”,  a dance-paced, sophisticated earworm carefully constructed to engage the listener at a visceral as well as a lyrical level. With whirling keyboard notes, racing but modulated drums, perfectly integrated bass and caffeinated guitar riffs, it gets under your skin and into your muscles.  You can feel yourself twirling with the lovers,  leaving this crazy world behind and spinning through this universe tonight.  But  even in a pop dance number, Jaimen and the song’s co-writer Davy Nathan slip in a message, “We won’t  let this world define us”.  And it doesn’t ,  we realize that as we sing oh-ohohoh with him.

The pace downshifts a bit and the message gets more explicit in “Not A Man For Sale”.  Musically reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Jaimen makes it clear who he is in this song, clearly meant to introduce him to the LA and US music industry.  Carefully constructed complex rhythms showcase his superb songwriting chops and command of global musical styles.  Jaimen uses African xylophones, clap drums, bass and guitars to weave an addictive musical message, driven home with an emphatic chorus that stays with you.

As we settle into his very good but recognizable pop rock groove, he goes off the grid and takes us into another musical universe with “Tokyo”.  A 51-second intro in the form of a urgent conversation in Japanese tells us that we aren’t in pop rock Kansas anymore. The lyrics (and the title) tell us that we are in Tokyo and it is a city of dreams and dangers, “There are shadows running on the streets/Everywhere I go they follow me/Am I dreaming or am I awake/Locked up in a place  I can’t escape.  The lyrical dream/nightmare is moved along by an burning, almost painful swirling keyboard that sets the beat,  punctuated with a muted snare and distant clap drum, like we are in a bright, cold overwhelming city with unseen forces bearing down us.  And, as ever in Jaimen songs, the ethical line slips in: I  see the man with the evil eyes/Telling me that he can make me fly/High and high, to the sky/To come around, the price is too high.

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We deserve a break after “Tokyo” and Jaimen gives it to us with “Die For You”, and easy pop story of love with mostly predictable rises and hooks.  It moves us in a dance-energy beat with a piano giving direction and drums and keyboards filling in while Jaimen’s flexible and , in this case, highly-pitch voice lets us know he would die for the girl in the small town he is skipping through. No drama, no memos, no mysteries – but a very clear message: I can do radio-ready pop with the best of them.

But being Jaimen, he can’t stay there for long, he takes us back  into darker territory with “The Devil With Dice”, a witchy woman song that evokes pop jazz more than pop rock.  Propelled by a simple snare drum rim-hit beat supported by kick  drum and bass over-rhythms,  Jaimen moves this story with a complex score. That complexity supports a conventional verse and very singable chorus for a radio-ready tune that we should be hearing on FM across the country before long.

Through the Universe closes with “Piece of Me” a  pop-blues ballad in the vein of Piano Man, with Jaimen’s lower register Billy Joel voice beguiling us in the verse, If this is love/Why does it burn?/If this is heaven/Then why does it hurt? . But being his own man, he  is not satisfied  to stay there in a vocal comfort zone. He moves his voice up an octave  for the chorus to color the lines in heartbreak pain,  almost but not quite losing the note.  While we absorb this, he nails us to the wall with a blues back-up singer bridge and a soul-piercing finish worthy of  any blues band out there.

Ben Jaimen has all the puzzle pieces for stardom: welcoming good looks, gracious humility, prodigious talent, superb craftsmanship.  Through The Universe  proves he can put them all together with creativity and a unique personal style when he  has the time and does the work, which he clearly did.  It is an E-Ticket ride for the listener and a neon-bright billboard for the industry.  There is a new talent in town and he is flying through our universe at light speed.

 

Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music FridayLive! radio

Through The Universe, Ben Jaimen

Ben.jaimen.com

https://twitter.com/benjaimen

Available  on iTunes

 

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Ben Jaimen,  Sylvester 2011

Ben Jaimen slides into the back both seat of an out of the way table at the Sofitel Hotel In Beverly Hills.  He has just finished a 4-song set introducing his debut EP, Through the Universe, to a US audience.  Jaimen is big in Europe, especially in his native Germany where he has sung before a million people at the Brandenburg Gate.  But tonight he was entertaining a modest crowd, shrunk slightly because of the closure of one of LA’s most important freeways. Nevertheless, with luminaries like Marla Maples and the German Deputy Counsel General sampling sliders and Jaimen song-named drinks, it was a good beginning for this handsome, humble and very, very talented 27-year old..

Ben Jaimen with German Deputy Counsel General

Ben Jaimen with German Deputy Counsel General

Jaimen was  sporting a fashionable 5 o’clock shadow, red pants, a peace symbol t-shirt and a heavy studded leather jacket, despite a warm evening approaching 70 degrees as he settled in and opened a bottle of water.  But he didn’t stay settled for long, as a constant stream of pretty girls, well-wishers, and new fans dropped by, still tingling from singing oh-ohoh-oh with him on his European hit, “Satellite”.  But between autographs, hugs with fans, and hellos from other artists he talked seriously about his entry in the US market, his music and where he is in his life.

Patrick. Ben, you have written a recorded dozens of songs.  You came into the studio with over 40 songs ready to go, but you chose not to do the usual 12 -15 song album, but a sampler EP with only 6 songs.  Why?

Jaimen. This is really just an introduction to show the American audience who I am, and frankly, hopefully, to leave them a little hungry for more.  And because this is my debut and you only get one first time, every song had to be special.

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Patrick.  So what is special about these 6 songs, special in  the context not only of the EP, but in the context of your life and where you are now.

Jaimen.  I love explaining and interpreting different cultures because I have lived in many cultures. One thing that is common to all cultures is celebrating life, and that is what the EP does – it is about joy and celebration of life.  I also celebrate life because of family and that is there too.  Family is always a reason to celebrate and I have family spread all over the world. So it all comes together.

Patrick. Why did you study music in Israel instead of one of the music capitals like London or New York, or LA or Nashville?

Jaimen.  We have family and a second home in Israel,  so there was a great family connection there.  I actually went to learn the language and ended up learning music as well.

Patrick.  Has the music in the different cultures you have lived in influence your music today.

Jaimen.  Yes,  although it is subtle, it is there.  My music is what it is because of the many kinds of music I have heard and learned from in different countries.

Patrick.  Is your music a kind of world music in some way?

Jaimen.  Well it is all about me and I am a citizen of the world, so yes.  The songs are all personal. I actually wrote one song on top of a mountain in Argentina.

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Patrick. You have a strong element of social action in your life.  Can you tell us about it?

Jaimen.  I understand that I have opportunities not everyone has and I want to give back to society.  This is important.  One way I give back is teaching music to poor children – some of whom are disabled – in Argentina.  I also work  with a charitable project in Germany.  I will always give back.

Patrick. Do the children teach you anything?

Jaimen.  Oh yes, they teach me to listen, how important it is to listen. And to be grateful.

Patrick.  What are you hoping from this US tour?

Jaimen. (laughing) A lot of new fans!  And I hope to get a USA label and an American manager.

 Patrick. Thank you.  Looking forward to continuing this conversation on the radio

Jaimen.  Me too.  Thank you!

Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music FridayLive! radio

http://benjaimen.com/

https://twitter.com/benjaimen

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Ben Jaimen can’t escape his fans, even though he is just being introduced to the US. A tall, olive-skinned 27-year old with a fashionable five o’clock shadow and a brilliant welcoming smile, you would not know he just b\blew away the crowd at his CD release party with perfect pitch pop rock.

A native of Germany with family in Israel and Argentina, Jaimen moves easily among those and other countries, picking up musical influences while retaining a certain humble cosmopolitan air. Music training in Israel, college in London, summers teaching music to disabled barrio children in Cordoba, he has seen and given a lot for such a young man and it shows in his eyes and his smile So it not surprising that a conversation with Jaimen is punctuated by pretty girls asking for his autograph and hoping for hugs (they got them) and couples who just want to stop by an out of the way corner table say “hi”, bask in his reflected glow and add to it with their accolades.

They are all still buzzing with his music, delivered faultlessly from a small but well-equipped stage set up at the Sofitel Beverly Center Hotel’s intimate outside venue.  After a video of his new single, “Satellites”, showcasing his good looks and solid, high energy songwriting, Jaimen hopped onstage, flanked by the  band.  He flashed  a brilliant but self-conscious smile and launched into a four-song set that showed us why he is so popular in Europe.  The set also showed why he will be popular in the US and – most importantly – why he can be a huge star worldwide  if he takes the next step in his  maturation.

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In short, Ben Jaimen is very good.  The question is, can he become great?

The four songs he played for us, all from the debut EP, Through the Universe, were masterpieces of  technical pop perfection.  The single “Satellites”, and the EP songs “Not a Man for Sale” , and “Die For You” all had his stamp on them.  Each song was exact – the guitar riffs were exactly the right length and exactly where they should be.  The drumming was exactly on beat, moving the song along in an enjoyable but predictable trajectory.  The songs flowed exactly through setup, bridge, chorus, hooks and end (with a little deviation for “Tokyo”).

Jaimen’s stage presence was also exact – exactly rehearsed and formulated, with hand and arm gestures practiced until their timing and photogeneric quality was perfect.  In short. Jaimen has reached the point in his career where he has complete control over his craft and his technique.  He can assemble and deliver a song or a performance precisely to the blueprint.  Not surprising for a man who has sung to a million people at the Brandenburg Gate, written hundreds of songs, and is working with voice coach Ilana Martin (Sean Combs, Patti LaBelle, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer) and pianist  Davy Nathan (Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo, Eric Benet and The X-Factor).

As Jaimen joins the fray in the huge and hugely competitive US music market – especially in LA where he is now based – he needs to move beyond German engineering into a creative space where he just does, with practice and artifice and exactitude. He needs to incorporate some of the out of control, controlled energy of a  Xander Demos or Bombay Bicycle Club,  take some San Francisco acid and Silicon Valley risk, ride some LA surf and groove to some New Orleans blues and let his huge warm heart come out through his talent. He is very, very good.  Now he needs to let that all go and become great.

 

Patrick O’Heffernan, Host Music FridayLive! radio

Through the Universe by Ben Jaimen

http://benjaimen.com/

https://twitter.com/benjaimen

available on iTunes and Amazon