Nosaj Thing, Home

Nate Patrin

By Nate Patrin

on 01.22.13 in Reviews


Nosaj Thing
Making ambient minimalism that warmly swoons into propulsive rhythmic shape

Jason Chung is among the lower-profile producers to emerge from Los Angeles’s late-’00s abstract beat scene, but that doesn’t make him invisible. His production work as Nosaj Thing — including his 2009 breakout debut Drift — suggests a lot by doing a little, making ambient minimalism that warmly swoons its way into propulsive rhythmic shape. Home takes that austerity one step further: Beats are built off shuffling clicks, chords float like jellyfish, and bass is more nudged than dropped. The entry-level reference points gravitate towards Boards of Canada a la The Campfire Headphase and Aphex Twin’s ambient works, small doses of hypnotic and meditative melody that glow a little too brightly to feel strictly mechanical. But cuts like the title track and “Distance” are tumultuous and intimate enough to suggest kinship with some off contemporary R&B’s more introspective corners. And with two indie-world guest spots — Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino hauntingly bobbing in the waves of “Eclipse/Blue,” and the distant, wistful Toro y Moi feature “Try” — Chung proves to be a fantastic collaborator capable of drawing out the eeriest qualities in a singer.