Growing up drawn in to hip-hop, Nosaj Thing’s Jason Chung highlighted these kinds of sensibilities on his debut album, Drift. Obtuse and booming, Chung’s basses enhanced the music’s already downcast, smooth tones. On “Fog” the beats would be jagged and upfront and later, on “Us,” Chung employed more directly-driven patterns – with the help of immense atmosphere. Now, much more subtle and nuanced, Chung this time highlights the versatility behind his craft, with his follow-up, Home.
Rather than exploring a heavier set of beats, Chung tapers the beats on Home with a very delicate hand. The opening mystery of the self-titled song is very much like the opening “Quest” was on Drift, only this time the production is refined and gone is the feedback, in favor of much more downtrodden electronic, in the vein of Burial. But instead of comparing the two albums, one can notice that although Chung has worked with many different artists since his compelling debut, he has opted to transform his music in his own regard. The songs on Home demand repeated listens and it’s an album you can definitely mellow out to; and while not as aurally striking, nor stunning, it’s a worthy follow-up for its own distinct reasons.
There’s the notion of allowing guest voices to penetrate Chung’s gentle walls on Home, with Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino and Toro y Moi appearing for featured songs. On “Eclipse” Makino sings about the lonely lost lover, while Chung depicts the story with somber synths that act as strings and a high-paced, driving beat. And later, on “Try,” Chazwick Bundick offers more of a dreamy escape, with again the tale of disintegrating love. The music settles first on each song, allowing the repeated atmosphere to blend well with the vibes, before the respective singer’s appear. And while starkly different from the previous album, these two songs alone add major progression to Home’s other nine songs.
It’s rather clear, too, that Chung is drawing off different canvases and different influences this time around. Maybe following the Warp crew of musicians has inspired him, but a song like “Glue” glistens with sounds that recall Rustie’s Glass Swords and on “Snap,” the snare drum and bass act more as a hip-hop prelude, before a bellowing synthesizer appears. Everything ends up being a welcome gesture because instead of easily allowing his music to be classified, Chung showcases that there are many other cards up his sleeve. Perhaps a nod to initial values and a skill set that hones in on the aforementioned atmosphere, Home is an overall softer, lighter affair and one that deserves attention.