A luscious, elegant, electronic work - Los Angeles Times
Hip-hop instrumentals and electronic sketches;
pristine and prim - FACT
Gorgeously haunted - Pitchfork
We seek the new because of the numbness. If you listen to enough
music, you're familiar with the feeling. Sounds get recycled so often
that they can seem like geometric configurations organized via Wav
files. Trends get time-stamped faster than a triplicate trap hi-hat.
The most rare records emerge outside of any clearly delineated orbit.
They're solitary visions that supply their own rhythm and arsenal.
Music that reverberates through heart, brain, and spine. This is Nosaj
Thing's third album, Fated.
"I just tried to escape really, and escape even what's going on in the
music world," says Nosaj Thing, the LA producer born Jason Chung. "It
just felt so suffocating in a way. I just wanted to do my own thing."
It's been six years since Nosaj Thing emerged among the vanguard of
Low End Theory-affiliated producers. His debut Drift created 31st
century tones and chromatic textures so sleek that they inspired
innumerable Soundcloud imitators.
None could match its moody iridescence, faded sadness and funky
swing. Bach collided with Boards of Canada. Spaceships came
equipped with rear view mirrors and a booming system bumping
G-Funk and warped soul. Pitchfork called it "gorgeously haunted."
Resident Advisor said it "exists in its own dimension and feeds off its
own exhaust: full of alien choirs, conquered computers, and refracting
Fated exists in this same alternate dimension, but further out. If
comparisons previously existed with other artists within the LA beat
scene, Nosaj has rendered them baseless. His second album on
Innovative Leisure (after 2013's Home) seeks celestial escape through
"The last record took out so much of me. I just wanted to go back to
simplifying and overthinking so much. It was a battle," Nosaj says.
"The soul of a song, the essence of a song-whatever you want to call
it-should be simple."
By stripping away all but what's really necessary, the sounds harness
an unusual directness. Guest appearances are rare, save for vocals
from Whoarei on "Don't Mind Me," and Chicago rap phenomenon,
Chance the Rapper. The latter gravely spits on "Cold Stares," invoking
terminal fevers, empty beds, devil's whispers, and insomniac fears.
If comparisons crop up, Fated has most in common with records like
Burial's Untrue or Dilla's Donuts. Requiems that canvass the shadowy
hinterlands between life and death, darkness and light, loneliness and
love. Eternal themes re-imagined in ingenious fashion.
"The album name came from all these coincidences that just kept on
happening to me," Nosaj says. "Specific interaction with specific
people in unexpected places. A perpetual feeling of dÉjà vu."
It's foundation rests on that intangible thing that some call fate or
primordial feeling. Numbness receding, old emotions flooding back,
un-tampered visions. Fated is what you can't explain, so it's best to
2. Don't Mind Me [ft. Whoarei]
5. Cold Stares [ft. Chance the Rapper]
8. Let You
13. Phase IV
14. Light #5