Premiere// J F L E – Problems

The experimental lord of outsider music hits the hectic city streets.


It has only recently occured to us, but J F L E has an unusual talent for pinpointing the most isolated facets of the human condition and amplifying them into a harrowing, emotionally-provocative sound. As you might imagine, the artist’s newest single Problems exemplifies this.

Opening up with a striking electronic melody that could easily soundtrack the credits to a ghost movie, Problems captures the sonic signature of loneliness in its truest form. The vocals are a work of haunting beauty as ever, and the entire song melds into an engulfing emotion. It’s with this that it becomes even more apparent that J F L E does not really compose music; he captures feelings.

Complementing this is the video, which is a rough and ready style following J F L E walking alone through crowded city streets. It’s nothing spectacular visually, but it’s perfect at giving the track an additional emotional resonance.

That said, it does also come with its surreal and fourth-wall breaking moments. The first comes roughly half way through, when a panned shot of a busy street just captures J F L E staring emotionlessly out of a phone box in a stand-out weird moment. The latter comes at three minutes in, when a passerby doesn’t seem too thrilled at being filmed and shoots daggers down the lense. And in a strange way, it adds to the exclusionary feel of the track – so well done to that man.

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