Release Date: Jun 9, 2009
Record label: Alpha Pup
California has long been a prime breeding ground for instrumental hip-hop, from DJ Shadow's pioneering work in the form through Madlib's tireless explorations and iterations, and that's never been more true than in the late 2000s, as a cresting wave of interest in the work of the late J Dilla helped to spark something of a stylistic resurgence, while a handful of Los Angeles-based producers coalesced into a recognizable local scene centered around the venue Low End Theory. That scene's first prominent breakout star was Steve Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, who earned widespread notice with his 2008 Warp debut Los Angeles, but 24-year-old Jason Chung (Nosaj Thing) followed shortly thereafter, dropping his aptly named LP, Drift, the subsequent spring. As with FlyLo's work, Nosaj pushes well beyond the customary bounds of hip-hop into glitchy IDM, ambient, and even dubstep territory, foregrounding highly abstract electronic textures more reminiscent of artists like Prefuse 73, Aphex Twin, and Burial than the beatmakers referenced above, with hip-hop's rhythmic drive never entirely absent but often reduced to a spare, skeletal framework.
LA is to hip-hop producers what Portland is to indie bands. Hence, newcomer Nosaj Thing had to fight through a lot of legitimate competition to win his contract at the consistently stellar Alpha Pup. When you hear his debut album Drift, you will know he earned it. This will not be the last you see his name attached to a heaping spoonful of praise.
Nosaj Thing is Jason Chung, a 24-year-old producer from California with loose ties to Flying Lotus and the L.A. glitch-hop scene. His gorgeously haunted debut Drift makes it clear that while he shares a lot with Flying Lotus-- a base of operations, like-minded compatriots, a deep love of hip-hop and a thousand strains of electronic music-- they're pretty far apart in terms of approach.
Straight out of the too-cool-for-school spawning grounds of the burgeoning Los Angeles electronic scene, Nosaj Thing is the latest producer to make a claim to fame in the new “lazer bass” movement. Aptly named for its fusion of swollen hip hop rhythms and glitchy electronic embellishment, this new genre has produced several indie heavy-hitters, such as Flying Lotus and Lazer Sword. Nosaj Thing is the brainchild project of 22-year-old Jason Chung, a longtime Los Angeles producer who first became famous from his DJ sets at the nightclub Low End Theory and his remixes of HEALTH and Flying Lotus.