NOSAJ THING: PARALLELS

September 6th, 2017 | Album reviews

NOSAJ THING
Parallels
Innovative Leisure

Montebello-born producer Nosaj Thing has turned out to be one of the most consistent Low End Theory alumni, regularly cranking out pristine records perfect for both passive and active listening. Parallels—his fourth LP, and third for current home Innovative Leisure and his own imprint Timetable—pushes him to the fringes of both ends, featuring his heaviest head-nodders to date as well as dabbling in fluid ambient music. Jason Chung’s music has always had an ethereal quality–even his debut Drift, um, drifted along more effortlessly than any of his beatmaking peers–but weightless tracks like “IGYC” and “Nowhere” feel like confident new territory, with delicate synth pads and looping vocals supplanted by bristling field recordings instead of kick drums. Chung’s recent interest in transcendental meditation could be at work here, although he’s still capable of commanding the dance floor with tracks like “U G,” a slice of thumping house not far off from his Timetable signee Gerry Read. And there’s plenty of room to play in the gray area between extremes–his low-key pop experiments are more gorgeous than ever, with Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino making a return appearance for the fidgety “How We Do”. “Don’t say my name with respect / Quit telling your friends that you work with me / Let me tune into your frequency” she breathes, a perfect mix of hazy romanticism and subtle forcefulness–in other words, exactly what Nosaj Thing does best.

—Zachary Bilson

NOSAJ THING’S PARALLELS IS OUT FRI. SEPT. 8 ON INNOVATIVE LEISURE.