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Romare Home

A lesson in slow, soulful dance music from London-based producer Archie Fairhurst.

Released: 31 July 2020

It's been over three years since Nosaj Thing's debut LP Drift was unleashed on the world via Alpha Pup Records, a curious half-bred album that owes a great deal to the Los Angeles beat scene while still offering something surprisingly fresh. For all its melodic sensibilities and shuffled rhythms, Drift is at its core quite a dark record, certainly one better enjoyed at home than in a club environment. Likewise Jason Chung's newest offering on Innovative Leisure is an album of real contrast; not so much a confident stride forwards as a carefully considered tactical sidestep.

What better way to illustrate this point than with lead single 'Eclipse/Blue', featuring vocals from Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead. Claustrophobic and introverted in the most fascinating way, this is probably the strongest song presented here, and if anything may set the bar too high for the rest of the record. The two are a match made in heaven, Makino's voice soaring with understated confidence over a spacious atmosphere which could easily swallow up a lesser vocalist. 'Glue', 'Safe' and the cosy 'Distance' continue in a similar vein with aplomb, but sometimes feel like they need one final element to bind them together as tightly as 'Eclipse/Blue'.

Elsewhere Home is more upbeat. 'Tell' sees Chung's ear for a good melody once again coming to the fore, while 'Snap' uses the kind of marching rhythm employed so effectively on Drift, delays and glitches adding tiny percussive flourishes beneath a solid set of synth chords. 'Try' features more guest vocals, this time from Toro Y Moi, whose heavily effected snippets don't add a huge amount to the track and actually distract from an otherwise solid production. The record closes with 'Light #3', a call-back to 'Light 1' and 'Light 2' from Drift but very much its own song, oozing nervous energy and urgency.

It seems unfair to place Home next to Nosaj Thing's consistently stunning 2009 debut, but such comparisons are of course inevitable. In years to come I think Home will be considered an important step for Chung as a producer, musician and collaborator. It doesn't have the instant appeal of Drift, but perhaps that's a good thing.