music | reviews | album
By Laurent Fintoni
If 2008 belonged to Flying Lotus then 2009 may well be Nosaj Thing’s year when it comes to the meeting point between hip hop and electronic music pioneered by the likes of Dabrye, Prefuse 73 and Machinedrum. As a debut album, Drift is a great showcase of Nosaj’s ability to blend the coldness of electronic music with the warm swing and ambience of instrumental hip hop. It’s as if the spirit of producers such as Dilla or Madlib was animating Nosaj’s toys in the lab. The album is kept short, with none of 12 tracks exceeding four mins and each blending into the next seamlessly, making the album a cohesive whole that is best enjoyed from beginning to end. That doesn’t mean there aren’t standout moments: most notably the previously released Coat of Arms and 1685/Bach, two slices of futuristic dancefloor action with driving synths melodies and energetic drums, Fog, a haunting number led by beautiful melodies and ghostly hi hat sounds, and IOIO and Caves, which both hover between headphone music and dancefloor appeal. My only gripe with the album is the lack of vocals, though this is more a personal wish as the album stands up strongly as it is: a hypnotic blend of instrumental hip hop and electronic music, the perfect continuation of the work laid by those before him. As a young producer, Nosaj has delivered an album which truly represents his sound, one he has undeniably spent a lot of time honing and perfecting.