Review: Nosaj Thing - Drift Remixed
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Los Angeles native Jason Chung produces what you could loosely term as cinematic intrumental hip-hop as Nosaj Thing (No Such Thing). I say loosely, because that doesn't really come close to describing the breadth of his music, perhaps experimental beat orchestras comes closer or perhaps its best not to try classifying it at all. Either way you look at it, his music has a unique sound, manifesting a fusion of beats, hip hop, electronica, synths and more, but point however being more around the sum result of this musical science experiment.
'Drift', released in 2009 on AlphaPup Records, was quite rightly an album of the year for many. Cinematic, richly haunting and dark, immediately lucid and visual - synth stabs that grab you out of the abyss wrapped around clever unexpected beats. I have to admit to being excited then to hear of this, a full length album of remixes by some of the big names in electronica, and Nosaj Thing's contemporaries.
Quest (Low Limit Remix) and Voices (Dorian Concept Remix) confuse the senses. Dntel does what Dntel does to his version of 'Us' bringing his refined lovely tone to the piece whilst Teebs adds his colourful light to the dark crevices of Caves.
Serial remixer Jamie XX gets the big melody of 'Fog', and although beginning the track on his recognisable dubstep wood-block hits, he allows the main motif to play out by itself as if to say look how amazing this is, why change it?
The real gem of this album though is Jon Hopkins' 'Us'. A powerful, electro reworking, building intelligently on what's there already, combining his squelchy blips and booms like a super powerup pill. Expertly controlled, through a slowly building phase of synths and beats, before giving way to delicate Hopkins piano, the last rements of the preceeding music fading in an echoing wind.
Similarly Daedalus and TAKE make their marks on Coat of Arms and Light #1 retrospectively. Light #1 with its laser synth lines could well have been written for TAKE, as the fellow LA producer proceeds to make the track his own.
Allowing us to be reminded just how good 'Drift' is, 'Remixed' with its impressive cast of remixers, illustrates the dynamism of Nosaj Thing's sound, and points to possible directions that sound could be taken next. Some big big tracks here in their own right, the whole thing stands up by itself. An excellent compliment to the source music, well excecuted by all involved.
Drift Remixed is out now on Alphapup Records