Nosaj Thing: Software Hard Beats
When his first LP Drift was delivered last year, and 24-year-old producer Jason Chung, a.k.a. Nosaj Thing, jumped whole-heartedly and with both feet into the world of music, the critics weren't sure how to receive it.
Most agreed his work was excellent but the music was difficult to explain. Fitting into a yet unidentified genre, where he stands with such contemporaries as Flying Lotus or Daedelus, Nosaj Thing's sound is a mixture of unfamiliar sounds that transform into wobbly rhythms and melodies. Sometimes coming from software keyboards or drum kits and other times from natural sources like a set of keys dropping on the ground or the strike of a cardboard box, his music is most easily understood as a balance between organic and synthetic.
«I usually start off with sound design. I'll go into my instruments, find a sound that fits the mood I'm in and keep building from there. It's very therapeutic for me to write songs; it's sort of an outlet. I also have a small recorder and I just go out and do a lot of field recording that I use in my music.»
The last time he was in Montreal, he performed an audio/visual set at Pop Montreal during Red Bull Megahurtz something which he had been experimenting with for only the second time. He has since performed it once more, at a movie theatre in Los Angeles, and he admits to learning from these unique live shows.
«We learn a lot from every show that we try out. We learn about what we need to do to make it look right and that, all the variables, like venue and lighting, have to be set correctly. When I do the visual show, it's more of a story being told, closer to what the album is. It's almost like a movie.»
For his next show in Montreal, Nosaj will be part of the Magical Mysteries tour alongside Daedelus and Jogger, described as a «touring unit as well as a label, featuring the musical musings» of three like-minded individuals. This time, he will stick to his regular live sets. «When I do a live set, it's more diverse. I can play around with different tempos, mix things up and play a lot of new material.»
Some of that new material includes three remixes that he's pumped out in the past few weeks. He recently remixed the song «Forever», a commercial summer hit by Canadian rapper Drake that got stuck in his head after hours of driving in LA and he was also approached to do official remixes for the song «Islands» by The xx, whom he admits to being a fan of, and Charlotte Gainsbourg's «Heaven Can Wait», that he describes as «one of the most challenging remixes that I've ever worked on.» These are all works you can expect to hear in his next set.
For now, Nosaj Thing will be touring until April and working on new material that will likely keep critics scratching their heads.