Piet Blank and Jaspa Jones are a production and DJ duo who played a significant role in the late-’90s commercialization of trance, though they went on to be known as much for their remixes and eclectic downtempo material. Beginning with 1997 single “Sunrise,” they began releasing upbeat, euphoric tracks which appealed to clubs as well as pop radio, and they scored major hits with songs like 1999’s “Cream” and 2002′s “The Hardest Heart.” While they continued to produce dance music, they began branching off into downtempo and ambient music starting with the first of many Relax full-lengths in 2003, in addition to compiling the multi-volume Chilltronica and Milchbar compilations. They also explored their obsession with ’80s pop, dance, and new wave through collaborations with Robert Smith and Bernard Sumner as well as their extensive so80s (SoEighties) mix series, which they initiated in 2009. They returned to their club side with 2017′s #WhatWeDoAtNight.
Blank and Jones first crossed paths at a Popkomm trade show. Together with help from producer Andy Kaufhold, they formed the Blank & Jones production team in 1995, and debuted in 1997 with “Sunrise.” The same year, under one of their aliases, Da Bomb, they also carried out their first high-profile remix via Moby’s “re-version” of “James Bond Theme.” In 1999, the duo made commercial and overseas breakthroughs with the more forceful but just as melodic “Cream,” a number 24 U.K. pop hit. The same year brought In da Mix, their first album, a continuous set of their own tracks.
Through the 2000s and 2010s, Blank & Jones 12” releases, studio albums, DJ mixes, and other projects — ranging from floor-fillers to home-listening sets — shot forth at a dizzying rate. 2004′s Monument included their version of the Cure’s “A Forest,” which featured the band’s vocalist, Robert Smith. Retrospective The Singles, 1997-2006 appeared two years later. Beginning in 2007, the majority of their output was released through Soundcolours, the label stamped on several-volume series such as Relax (devoted to original chill/lounge material), Milchbar (downtempo compilations), and so80s (SoEighties) (extended mixes, hits, and deep cuts from the 1980s), as well as on singles and albums from vocalists and contemporaries like Sandra and Medina. Blank & Jones’ 2008 full-length The Logic of Pleasure included collaborations with Bernard Sumner (New Order), Vanessa Daou, and Claudia Brücken (Propaganda). The duo collaborated with Mark Reeder on the 2009 full-length Reordered. Starting in 2011, Blank & Jones began releasing so80s volumes dedicated to a single artist, including Ultravox, Culture Club, and Falco. They also dipped into smooth jazz with 2012′s Relax: Jazzed.
Blank & Jones released the downtempo/ambient albums Dom and Silent Piano in 2006. In 2017, they resumed making dance music with #WhatWeDoAtNight. Dance-pop singles “Love from the Start” and “One” followed in 2018, with So80s, Vol. 13 arriving one year later. ~ Andy Kellman & Paul Simpson