Nosaj Factor hits reset on the quietly audacious Parallels

Photograph: Revolutionary Leisure

Throughout three slim, lovely albums, Nosaj Factor has carved out an odd nook of the beat scene. They’re quiet, minimal works—try all these one-word observe titles!—that evade simple description, without delay conventionally head-nodding and experimentally composed, with human sighs and breaths becoming in neatly alongside gloaming space-age synths. “Cohesive” doesn’t even start to explain them; Drift, Dwelling, and Fated sound like they have been reduce from a single transmission from a distant universe.

However the brand new Parallels marks a turning level for Jason Chung. After his gear was stolen in 2015 together with years of labor, he took the blow as a chance for a tough reboot. Nobody would mistake the tip end result for anyone else, however Parallels is a decidedly exploratory file, teasing out the varied threads that earlier tracks commingled, giving concepts extra room to breathe and develop.

Every observe explores a solitary, centered thought. First single “All Factors Again To U” and the later “U G” discover the heart beat of an alien nightclub, suggesting the same beat-to-dance trajectory as 4 Tet. However each tracks are adopted by abrupt stylistic shifts, with “Type” tracing a glowing, Oneohtrix-like melody for 3 luminous minutes and the ominous “Get Like” evoking the pitch-black oblivion of Soundcloud rap. Earlier albums have discovered unlikely centerpieces with seamless vocal collaborations—Fated’s “Chilly Stares” stays considered one of Probability The Rapper’s most impressed vocal experiments—and right here Zuri Marley pops up for a low-key love tune that wouldn’t sound misplaced on a Jessie Ware album. The album closes with “Sister,” a heat, sentient observe that might loop proper again into 2009’s Drift. For all its probity, Parallels is of a bit with its predecessors, one other curvilinear and sinuous 30-minute odyssey from one of the crucial constant and daring producers working.

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