Jason Priest is the synth pop/post punk nom de plume of prolific composer/musician Antoni Maiovvi. While Maiovvi works in the shadowy world of underground disco and Giallo(he is a co-founder of Giallo Disco Records), Priest lays waste in the world of early 80s synth pop and post-punk. Sort of a pill and alcohol-fueled musical one man wrecking crew that survived the punk movement of the 70s in order to give the 80s neon electro pop a proper shot of adrenaline.
As Jason Priest, Maiovvi leaves the Giallo discos behind in place of synth pop inspired equally by New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails. Priest dipped his toes in the water with 2018’s King-Kill/33° EP and 2019’s Nightmare Boy EP, but is now diving head first with his full-length debut Jason Priest Is Missing on new label Midnight Mannequin.
Here is a little more info on Jason Priest:
“Jason Priest is the post-punk/synthpop alter ego of Antoni Maiovvi, an artist with immeasurable talent and almost as many creative aliases as he has releases under his studded leather belt. Maybe you know him as the co-founder of Giallo Disco Records, or for his previous work on Death Waltz Originals, or as the creative force behind a long list of horror soundtracks, both real and imagined. Now is your chance to know him as Jason Priest, the British punk rocker who heads to New York City in 1982 on the heels of a brand new record deal, only to spend the better part of the decade strung out on amphetamines and drowning in alcohol. Now, Jason is back in London with renewed energy from both the change of scenery and, more importantly, a newfound sobriety…“
Jason Priest Is Missing is a redemption album of sorts for Maiovvi’s musical alter ego, and lead single “When The Clown Cries” is the rallying cry. It’s a gorgeously catchy pop track. It has the innocence of OMD’s “Enola Gay” with the drive of New Order’s “Age of Consent” and the anthemic pulse of INXS’ “Don’t Change” while stridently carrying its own torch. Maiovvi in Priest’s well worn leather boots dares us to leave it all behind and just let go in the most exciting and engaging of ways.
Priest locks into the vibe of contemporaries like Craft Spells, Luis Vasquez, Wild Nothing, and Diana, while still retaining the hard electro drive that Maiovvi has made his reputation on in the UK, Berlin, and the US. He seems to tow the line between sunshine and menace, borrowing on the darkness of struggle and the light of sobriety. These are pop songs, but not without jagged edges.
Besides “When The Clown Cries” there’s the non-album B-side “Departure”, which features Mecha Maiko(aka Hayley Stewart) on vocals. Yet another swath of synth pop perfection, and with Maiko on vocals the song has an added depth of warmth and engagement.
Lead single “When The Clown Cries” is available for download now, with Jason Priest Is Missing coming soon on limited edition “New York Taxi Cab Yellow” colored 180 gram vinyl from Minneapolis-based record label Midnight Mannequin. You can check out samples of all the tracks off the long player here. There’s also a video for “When The Clown Cries”, which you can check out below.
Midnight Mannequin is a brand new record label that is pushing forward-thinking artists in electronic music. No genre limits, but they’re really into synthpop, synthwave, post-punk, and horror if you were wondering.
This label is the real deal. I might be privy to the next release, and it’s a big one. Stay tuned. You can keep up with Midnight Mannequin by following them on Bandcamp. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Listen to “When The Clown Cries” below. Download the single and B-side here.