Hamstrung by lack of gear, Nosaj Thing perseveres

Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Review and Photos – Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015.

– review by Taisuke Tanimura / photos by Kirk Chantraine

“A lot of bad shit happened on this tour. A lot of bad shit.”. Those were the words Nosaj Thing (nee Jason Chung) uttered into the mic as he took the stage. While on tour in Houston last week, thieves stole all of his gear, including laptops and all of his hard drives containing everything he’s ever done. The tragedy deepened when he found out that this back up drive at home failed, so unless he miraculously recovers his drives, Nosaj Thing has lost it all.

Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Chung made waves back in 2009 with his debut album Drift, which immediately drew comparisons to kindred spirits Flying Lotus and others in the burgeoning LA beat scene. The tracks on Drift are sparse, cold and moody; you get the sense that every element has been carefully sculpted and placed just-so. The results are consistently beautiful, and the strength of his debut launched a number of high profile production gigs with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, and Chance the Rapper.

Chung’s second album Home saw him embrace a more human, warmer sound, bolstered with vocals from Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead and Toro y Moi. The show at the Electric Owl last night was in support of his highly anticipated third album Fated, which comes out on May 5. Chung has shared a track from the album “Cold Stares” (featuring Chance the Rapper), which appears to promise more of the goodness we have come to expect from him.

Nosaj Thing, “Cold Stares”:

As was expected, Chung was seriously hamstrung without his gear. He was able to cobble together some semblance of a live set, playing through new material with steely determination.

Unfortunately, his music’s syrupy pace did not prove very engaging with the large crowd, which noticeably thinned during the first fifteen minutes of his show. As the lone person on-stage, its hard to keep a crowd’s interest unless you do something dynamic, which Chung was clearly not in the mood to do. The visuals projected behind him were also lackluster, and although my heart went out to him, I found myself wishing there was more.

Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl, Vancouver, Apr. 24 2015. Kirk Chantraine photo.

Co-headlining with Nosaj Thing was Clark, a visionary producer from the UK who has gained critical and popular acclaim for his dark, muscular take on techno. He would have been the perfect complement to the slow atmospherics of Nosaj Thing. Sadly, after a long week at work and too much waiting, I had to leave around 1 a.m. without getting a chance to see him. Nosaj Thing’s woozy music had sapped my energy and left me very sleepy.

Hopefully both artists will get to pass through Vancouver again soon. I look forward to hearing them present their music under better circumstances.

More Nosaj Thing at the Electric Owl photos:

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