Prepare yourself for another little half hour of floating away on chilled-out hip-hop beats: Home
, the second album of the popular beat artist Nosaj Thing (alias of Jason Chung), has turned out to be a worthy follow-up to the in 2009 well received Drift
. In the wake of one Flying Lotus and the rest of the Brainfeeder crew, Chung has managed to claim a prominent spot in the contemporary LA beat scene with his debut containing - as its title already hints at - plenty of dreamy synth motives, backed by firm but gentle percussion. Now, four years later, Home
proceeds on a similar premise, bringing with it little radical changes and surprises, but instead a more refined and profound version of the Nosaj Thing sound.
The prereleased 'Eclipse/Blue' created some very high hopes for the album, and subsequently is the best track to be found on here as well. The combination of a more traditional ambient blueprint with a marvelous acoustic middle piece and the chopped-up, angel-like vocals of Blonde Redhead singer Kazu Makino shows Nosaj Thing at his most confident and at ease with all his fancy equipment. The song sets the bar high, maybe even a bit too much so, for the rest of the record, but rest assured the other tracks aren't to be scoffed at either. Where Drift
still had that undefined restlessness in it, typical for the debut of a rising star in the business, what we get on Home
instead is a more focused attitude. See, for example, 'Glue' which arguably hosts the most refined percussion on the entire album, alongside some funky home-cooked samples that give the song a futuristic neon nightclub feel of sorts. A bit further, 'Distance', 'Tell' and the enjoyable little intermezzo 'Prelude' show Chung from his most intimate side - the side I personally enjoy the most.
However, various bits and pieces are on the other hand a bit too tame for my tastes, like the Toro Y Moi-collab 'Try', or the reserved and cold 'Phase III'. Therefore, album closer 'Light #3', due to its more direct and playful character, is the refreshing odd one out and concludes Home
rather nicely. Nosaj Thing's second is in either case a very enjoyable record and because of its short playing length never really begins to drag. Compared with Drift
, his productions have matured and became more fulfilled, and Chung has reached a temporary peak in his knowledge and skills as a producer. However, the scope of his current sound has probably reached a barrier and although Home
is nevertheless very much recommended, Nosaj Thing should do best in keeping a few extra surprises on hand in the future.