Nosaj Thing: Home (Innovative Leisure)
The new album from Jason Chung, a full 3 years after his last album and its accompanying remix collection, is stunning. It won me over immediately with the introductory combo of melancholic stride of the title track and “Eclipse,” a double-time/half-beat collaboration with Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead, the latter of which is the lead single from Home. After BR’s distinctly electronic last outing, somehow Kazu sounds perfectly at home here with Chung’s arrangement. It’s also a far cry from the more obvious downtempo hip hop influence of Drift; right from the onset, the sound is significantly “now”-er. As a matter of fact, the same melancholy gloom that washed over Blonde Redhead’s Penny Sparkle is not far off from the over-arching mood of Home. And there is something quite cozy about that introspection, living up to its title. “Safe” and “Tell” carry on in this sort of way, a healthy blend of melancholy introspection and tightly crafted arrangements. Elsewhere, the bubbly chords and claps of “Glue” sound particularly fresh, putting his own spin on the dubstep/tech halfbeat with intermittent kicks and hihats that don’t quite match expectations for either of those (in a good way), mainly because of the serene pads that flesh out the track. The double-time breaks of “Light 3” that close out the album feel simultaneously nostalgic and forward-looking, by far the most spry of the tracks on the album. It helps not only close out the album with a bit of added pep but provides a tinge of optimism as it comes to a close. It’s a gorgeous entry into Chung’s repertoire and is perhaps my favorite of 2013 so far. It’s early in the year, mind you, but I have a suspicion this will remain a favorite for months to come.