J-Shadow is something of an enigma. Search online and you’ll discover very little about the man, but you will increasingly find his music. In just five short years, he’s become a sought-after name, with releases on Sneaker Social Club, Warehouse Rave and Bun The Grid, to name a few, and all while pushing the envelope of experimental, bass-heavy music. Less blurring the lines of genre, more mangling them in a high-impact collision, he can usually be found reworking the prime materials of grime and jungle, but isn’t afraid to tear chunks from hardcore, IDM, garage, techno and ambient.
As abstract as his tracks may seem at first glance, they’re founded on a deep musical knowledge and a desire to tell stories. Jason Kan was classically trained from a young age, gaining an understanding for “the science, the structure of music”. As he got older, the urge to learn and explore only grew. He’d figure out chords and melodies from music he heard day to day, and eventually joined a band, picking up guitar, bass and drums alongside the piano he already knew. A love for the furious energy of hardcore and metal eventually transferred itself to electronic music, in particular techy drum & bass and jungle.
“I had some affinity to really fast drum rhythms and rolling drum patterns,” says Kan. He cites the synth-heavy autonomic movement, outsider labels like Diffrent Music and purveyors of stomping halftime like Loxy, Overlook and Clarity as early interests. From there came a diversion into yet more curveball sounds, as the hybrid sonics of post-dubstep took hold. “[Artists were] pulling loads of genres and smashing them all together,” he continues. “I found that really fascinating, ‘cause it could take loads of different moulds.”