Nosaj Thing
Drift


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andru Okenuf USER (32 Reviews)
April 23rd, 2011 | 56 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A wompy yet introspective journey to an outer realm

Jason Chung, better known by his stage name, Nosaj Thing, is a difficult man to pin. If you saw him on the street, you’d sooner guess he made a living as your son’s math tutor than as a prominent DJ. Chung’s primary influences come from hip-hop he heard as a kid in the suburbs of Los Angeles, yet he sounds more like Bonobo or even Kraftwerk. You have to listen very intently before you hear a production style influenced by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, with distinguishing funky beats that separate him from the somewhat similar artists on Warp Records.

His debut LP is almost as hard to come to terms with. It’s not very striking at all, and despite instantly acknowledging that he had produced a solid record, I cast it aside, thinking it a less chaotic and unremarkable take on what Flying Lotus has been doing. ‘1685/Bach’ is probably the best evidence of this, but perhaps more than any others on the album, it lays Nosaj Thing out in front of us, presenting a fairly disturbing sense of what goes on inside the man’s head. Even though this is one of the strongest tracks on the album, one careful listen is all it takes to realize he has managed to craft his own sound.

The whips which begin ‘Quest’ set an unusually exhilarating backdrop for an otherwise smooth track, and the wobbly synths of ‘Fog’ give the first impressions of taking off somewhere different completely. But the gorgeous misty ambience of ‘Coat of Arms’, and the ghostly ‘IOIO’ kick things into higher gear, threatening to explode constantly yet attacking you at so many deeper levels. ‘Caves’ is probably his most accessible track and is perhaps a microcosm to the album as a whole, seeming like a countdown to something important. ‘Voices’, however, takes eerie to a whole new level, and serves as a crucial lead-in to the orgasmic ‘Lords,’ whose raw power seems capable of rising one from the grave.

As ‘Light 2’ rears its gorgeous mystical head, time seems to stop, but its underlying beat somehow manages to keep everything moving, making it an immediate standout. But the incredibly personal ‘Us’ strikes a whole new spectrum of emotions. Just as the synth tries to rise out of a stupor of loss, keyboards bring us down to earth and remind us to be sad about something we never really knew we had to begin with.

What’s scary is that despite all this album is able to convey, it shows many signs of being a debut record. It isn’t difficult to tell from the sound of the album that Jason Chung is a huge computer geek, and it is very obvious that he has been fiddling with sounds for many years, but at times this album suffers because it sounds more like a mixtape than an LP. ‘Drift’ is the perfect name for this album, since Nosaj Thing never fully commandeers his own sound, seeming content to let beats manifest before taming them and making them his own. You don’t get a sense that there is any mission behind any of the songs created or that most tracks on the album need to be placed where they are.

Still, as far as experimental yet accessible electronic debuts go, this is one of the best I have ever heard.

But whatever it was always had that hip-hop backbone to it
(For further reading: http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?1111 )



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user ratings (83)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 23rd 2011


2887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great read man. Love this guy's stuff too

aok
April 23rd 2011


4440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Kinda tough to describe his music but he is phenomenal so check him out.

Remixes of his I really like (none are on the album):
Portishead - Wandering Star (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAnfPMaLPec)
The XX - Islands (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziJFbRiPUvg&NR=1)
Radiohead - Reckoner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKOQNN3eYUk&feature=related)

Lemme know what you think

wabbit
April 23rd 2011


7010 Comments


^those are some amazing songs

tkxxx7
April 23rd 2011


6153 Comments


nice review dawg

pos

aok
April 23rd 2011


4440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

thanks man, and thanks rabbit for once overing this

balcaen
April 23rd 2011


3183 Comments


pos'ing this review. can't wait for
more stuff by this guy too. solid.

Rev
April 23rd 2011


9437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pos

love this, great review Andy

cvlts
April 23rd 2011


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

checked this out out of complete random curiosity. solid stuff.

sweet review bro.

FourSquare20
April 23rd 2011


320 Comments


"if you saw him on the street, you’d sooner guess he made a living as your son’s math tutor than as a prominent DJ" haha yay for stereotyping.

aok
April 23rd 2011


4440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

when i saw this guy spin live i was literally shocked that he was the DJ, and there was this even dorkier looking asian guy to my right with huge glasses that was totally rocking out -- phenomenal live set.

what's scary is that as great as this album is, he's actually capable of better.

Calculate
April 23rd 2011


1135 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is genuinely one of my favourite albums.

ferociouslettuce
April 24th 2011


195 Comments


Just had 'Lords' running on two computers at once by accident and it still sounded great. This guy is
so sick - if you get a chance to hear him spin live, jump on it!

FourSquare20
April 24th 2011


320 Comments


Well, the review finally got me to download this album. I've been meaning to for a while now.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2011


31367 Comments


Nice work man

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

aok
April 24th 2011


4440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks man. Great stuff (as usual) over on Swarms. Flikr Of Ur Eye might still be my favorite track
so far this year

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2011


7312 Comments


Solid, effective review. There's really nothing to rip into here - you hold your line fairly well and don't commit to anything controversial. Good job, overall.

Pos.

aok
April 25th 2011


4440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

thanks dude - means a lot coming from you

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2011


7312 Comments


You are most welcome =) You do deserve the plaudits - you're definitely improving. Do keep it up. We could seriously use more people like you around here.

ferociouslettuce
April 25th 2011


195 Comments


(looks up the word plaudit) cool, i'm down with 'enthusiastic expressions of approval'

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so, this rules

needs more love

gonna go find a youtube video of this guy doing his thing because he's fucking awesome

one sec

...

ok, so this video is amazing, I just watched the whole thing and forgot to finish this comment. he's a gee dee wizard, just look at his hands fly!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31AFfyPXUKQ

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes



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