Jamais Vu


Jamais vu

9.13.19 | New Amsterdam Records


Jacob Taswell – all writing & production,
laptop, field recordings, vocals


Peter Formanek – tenor saxophone (1)
Keren Abreu – vocals (2, 3)
Paul Wiancko – cello (3)
Jack Broza Lawrence – electric guitar (4)

Mixed & mastered by Michael Hammond

Artwork & booklet design by Shu Ohno

Thank you to everyone who generously donated to make this EP possible.




During the summer of 2017 I lived in Brooklyn and frequently rode the train to and from central Long Island. Traveling without instruments, I tried sketching passages of music using only my laptop. As I grew more absorbed in the sketches, this initial constraint became my binding method, no matter where I worked, in an effort to realize a kind of hyper-deliberate music. Laptop only became my rule for both recording and editing. MIDI sequencing became an obsession.

This is the process that evolved into Jamais Vu. The music is not the result of jamming or discovering the notes that fall under my fingers as a pianist. Making the record was like slowly putting in place each molecule, one by one, of a giant crystal. At the same time, I wanted to replicate the feeling of a band playing together in a room.

A few months after I started the project, I took a restaurant job with shifts that went late into the night. I got up every day to compose, but the slow pace, combined with isolation and constant self-evaluation, drove me into an increasingly altered state of mind. I worked compulsively, doubting whether I could achieve the uniquely evocative quality I hoped for in the music. It was far from the uninhibited, exploratory sketching I did on the train. The work was corroding my ability to function normally.

As my sense of self grew intertwined with the music, I became intensely aware of encountering objects, settings, and people from my daily life as if from a distance. Experiencing the loss of something in each of these moments was extremely unsettling, and it gave me the impulse to title the record. Jamais Vu is music for an age of desensitization—listening is discovering where the residue of memory and spirit remains.


Making this EP would not have been possible without support from a number of people. First, I would like to recognize Michael’s hard work and creativity in translating my lo-fi recordings and chaotic mixes into a real record. I also feel immensely lucky to have been able to work with Peter, Keren, Paul, and Jack, who contributed their amazing playing and singing to the record. Getting to know Shu’s art has had a big impact on me, and I sincerely appreciate his willingness to collaborate and his consistent kindness and enthusiasm. I am grateful to Mom, Dad, Ethan, Julia, and Mico for showing support throughout the project in more ways than I can count, and for putting up with the noise. I would also like to thank Bill for giving me some much-needed encouragement that changed the course of the project. Finally, my deepest thanks to everyone who generously donated to help fund the EP.