A virtual unknown at the time of 2009 debut Drift, Los Angeles producer Jason Chung, aka Nosaj Thing, has since been invited to remix tracks for artists as diverse as Radiohead, Philip Glass and Drake, in addition to producing cuts by the underground elite of Kid Cudi, Nocando and Kendrick Lamar.
Any fans concerned that rubbing shoulders with such a string of high-profile collaborators might result in a sudden bid for mainstream success can rest easily, as second LP, Home, is arguably an even more intimate and introspective fusion of instrumental hip-hop and downbeat electronica.
The ambient wordless sketches which drew comparisons with the likes of Flying Lotus are still very much the order of the day here. But apart from the distorted drum n’ bass of closer “Light 3,” Nosaj Thing has toned down the glitchiness in favour of a sparser brooding sound more in keeping with the UK bass scene, from the nocturnal Burial-esque dubstep of “Glue” to the trip-hop lullaby of “Safe.”
A fair few tracks which adhere to this ‘less is more’ approach risk vaporising into thin air, particularly the neo-classical “Prelude” and the woozy IDM of “Distance.” But thankfully, Home isn’t always so insubstantial.
For the first time, Nosaj Thing recruits two vocalists for his project. Blonde Redhead’s Kazy Makino lends her ethereal tones to the reverb-laden acoustics, snake-ish beats and swooshing synths of lead single “Eclipse/Blue,” whilst Toro y Moi lives up to his ‘king of chillwave’ reputation on the beautifully atmospheric “Try.”
Elsewhere, the opening title track echoes the ghostly indie R&B of The Weeknd before gradually building into a chunky slice of slow-motion house, whilst “Tell” is an evocative nu-synth affair which sounds like the Close Encounters of the Third Kind score given a post-garage make-over.
Without the listener’s utmost attention, Home could be dismissed as mere background dinner-party fodder. But those who choose to fully immerse themselves in Nosaj Thing’s sonically intricate world should find it a stimulating experience.