Jules Chaz Jules ChazToppings?
Those of us who are suffering from compulsive personalities are used to obsessing over something in an irrational and exaggerated way. Every good record is the record of the year, and every good song the single of the year. I’m not going to deny it, I’m sure that right now I’m victim of a lack of long-term vision and of the implacable neurosis to squeeze something until it’s dry at the spot, but I have to say that I’ve been hooked to the track “Black Lodge” for a week now, as if I were a leech drinking from the sweet ankle of an adolescent virgin. It’s impossible to measure. I stick my nose in it like Tony Montana buries his face in a mountain of Charlie. I’m obsessed by it and it attracts me as if it was an E from back in the day. I see myself on the tube getting out my iPod to press repeat and hear the damned song again. Jules Chaz gets a couple of samples from “Twin Peaks” and rearranges them in a digital symphony of amorphous and disturbing beauty. It’s a strange painting of light and shadows, bubbling sounds and analogue melodies that might be reminiscent of a melodious, infantile Richard D. James of a few years ago, but they stand on their own. I think it’s the most intelligent and sensual way of using the soundtrack of David Lynch’s series I have ever heard. Here we go again with the hyperbole, yes, but what can I say? The feeling is that of being submerged in something more than a song, you find yourself floating in some kind of electronic trance that activates your mind and takes you to heavenly places you’ve never been before. It’s a feeling that stays with you all the way and soaks the impeccable record completely.
“Toppings…” has caught me by surprise. Certainly because on the field of instrumental psychedelica and new beat there is more to be found every day and fewer people who want to hear it. With the tanks full and the flood of similar projects, one tends to listen with much more precaution than before. But not even like that; from the very first moment, the futurist rhythms of this Canadian beatmaker enter my blood stream with ease, irrigating my brain with the most potent instrumental dopamine in months. It’s not surprising that Mathew Jonson decided to break the 4/4 dictatorship to give a new impulse to his label Wagon Repair, rabidly technoid (and sometimes jazzy, with a few drops of IDM) from release number one... until now. Chaz is a talent on fire and we have to give him shelter without prejudice: from a distance, his musical pyre spreads a heat that is different from the rest of the pack, what gives his parts extra sugar that it’s impossible for the sweet-toothed to reject. Feline, lysergic, evanescent, silent, the instrumental hip-hop of “Toppings…” owes a lot to the Gospel according to Dila: erratic chops, syncopated structures, ambient backgrounds and emo digitalisation impose themselves. On experiments like “Red Eye” –drowsy jazz in the purest DJ Krush style–, “Invisible Glasses” (violins in a song for a thriller), “Break” –an 8-bit accordion reverberating into your cortex– and “The LA” with it’s Koranic canticles, synthesisers and spectral bhangra, it’s easy to recognise the radioactive footprint of another creator.
The more orthodox passages, the most hip-hop, so to speak, are also cut with very particular craftmanship. The gothic fog of “Bewdley B. Chaz” sounds like the work of a schizophrenic Madlib. On “Clap” he tries to build a galactic bossa nova, and the result is a mass of glitches with a hazy end. For “Could Happen” he teams up with Canadian MC Ishkan and puts on a melodic burqa halfway between Boards Of Canada and Slum Village. On “Yes I Do” his connection with Cobblestone Jazz shows a bit more, letting the band’s keyboardist, Danuel Tate, do finger acrobatics on a piece of P-funk that screams for some green buds. He even achieved the impossible: he makes me like reggae (check out “Whipits”, a delicious piece of Jamaican calypso with digital notes that’s already on my playlist for the beach) and Indian music: impressive how, on “Say Sumthin”, he transforms the ingenuity of Bollywood into a black mass with babies on the verge of being sacrificed. There’s no need to beat around the bush, “Toppings…” is a brilliant record; one that is also laden with subliminal messages that stick in your head like splinters. Between the liquid funk chirps of “Smile (It’s U)”, for example, we hear a voice saying: “It’s you and me.” And that’s how it is. Here we are. Face to face. Up against danger, just the two of us. You and me. Do we need anyone else?
Julez Chaz - Yes I Do