- Dropping Gems
- DJAO, beatific beatmaker.
Seattle producer/vocalist DJAO (Alex Osuch) will release his self-titled debut album Oct. 28 on Portland’s Dropping Gems label. We’ve been following his development over the last four years and can say with confidence that DJAO is a superb demonstration of soulful electronic music (not an oxymoron, haters), a kind of apotheosis of dream pop and future bass, augmented by Osuch’s beautifully wistful and reverb-dusted vocals that recall influential UK duo A.R. Kane’s at their most blissful.
Similarities with James Blake’s low-lit, romanticism exist, but DJAO’s tracks are brighter and bustle with more rhythmic activity. There are also commonalities between DJAO and Shabazz Palaces' Lese Majesty, although the former's slightly more earthbound and pastoral; but both exude fluid, beatific atmospheres over luxurious low-end foundations. Fans of Arthur Russell and Talk Talk ca. Spirit of Eden/Laughing Stock will also dig the hushed, spiritual halos of sound swirling around these 12 tracks.
You can check out the press release and tracklist after the jump. DJAO performs at Decibel Festival's Resident Advisor showcase at EMP Level 3, Wed. Sept. 24.
Dropping Gems is proud to present DJAO’s self-titled debut album. Three years in the making, producer/vocalist DJAO (a.k.a Alex Osuch) has created an auditory narrative in a similar manner to a collection of linked stories, stylistically diverse but based within the same world, told by a single narrator. Composed during times of personal growth and inner reflection, the material presented on DJAO takes the listener on a serene, often ethereal journey.
As a testament to navigating life’s challenges and successes, the arc of the album explores the pattern of introduction, engagement, and struggle, as told through Osuch’s raw emotional looking-glass. From the literal emergence of “Good Morning” to the concluding paroxysm of “Can’t Make Music Forever,” the album describes a path towards clarity and understanding where there are almost as many steps backwards as forwards. Appropriately, DJAO is the first release to directly showcase Osuch’s vocal talents, with sung lyrics shifting from back to foreground (and back again), enveloped in delay-soaked reverb.
In assembling this album Osuch drew upon a wide range of sounds, letting electric piano, synthesizers, and deep bass tones handle most of the melodic duty. Guitar played by Zuri Birginger adds to the palette towards the end of the album. The pace of the tracks is defined by intricate & texture-heavy drum programming, which rhythmically shift from downtempo to juke/footwork-influenced sensibilities. Behind it all, a certain fuzzy haze persists throughout the collection.
DJAO will be released October 28th 2014 via digital retailers and Bandcamp where limited edition cassette tapes will also be available.
1. Good Morning
3. Heavy Fog
4. Tan Jacket
5. Wet Bark
7. Depressing Jog Ends Well
10. The Last Time
11. Foreign Heart
12. Can’t Make Music Forever (Juke Blues)