Los Angeles-based producer Jason Chung made quite a splash with his 2009 debut as Nosaj Thing; Drift
, released on the small Alpha Pup label, was a refreshing take on the post-Dilla beat aesthetic, adding melodic and glitchy electronics to the mix, like a hip-hop take on Boards of Canada. Since then Chung has been championed by critics as well as his peers, finding himself in the good company of some of the freshest producers in the California scene -- names like FlyLo, Daedelus, and Teebs. For his long-awaited follow-up, Home
, Chung has stepped further afield into an arena that hosts the likes of Four Tet, Dntel, and Aphex Twin, where pastoral, crystalline, and skittery electronics percolate and float along with each meticulously sculpted sound -- clean, clear, and emotive sounds that never feel cluttered or random. Across the album, Chung effectively and maturely moves from beats to beat-less soundscapes, with the nice addition of two vocal tracks; Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead adds a feminine beauty to lead single "Eclipse/Blue," while Toro Y Moi brings an almost Thom Yorke-like attitude to the track "Try." Overall, Home
feels like a more grounded, slightly more 'pop' variation on Chung's debut, yet this pristine and minimal approach is still top-notch. This is one of the first must-hear electronic albums of 2013, and it comes from a name that has been missed over the last few years. Fans of glitch-hop, the heyday of Morr Music, the Brainfeeder crew, or just warm and inviting electronica, shouldn't hesitate to pick this one up.