UPDATE: The album has been removed from Bandcamp. Here are details.
This past week I’ve been posted up at the ArcLight Hollywood to present a few screenings of my film DOSA HUNT, for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. The press corp here is from the world over, and don’t know much about the film’s stars (yr brown boys from Vampire Weekend, Das Racist, Neon Indian, Yeasayer, Vijay Iyer Trio, and this very website), so I’ve been answering a lot of questions about our work and its relationship to the broader music culture, with this frequent follow-up: From an Indian/crossover standpoint, who represents what’s “next” in music? Now, it’s been some the time since Jai released his revelatory “BTSTU,” and then its alternate-dimension R&B followup “Jasmine” (during which time artists like Gold Panda, SBTRKT, the Weeknd, Miguel, etc. have flowed in that vein, making bold statements laced with wisps and echoes of Jai’s aesthetic). But he’s still my go-to answer in moments like these, as he has been since 2007. So about 10 times this week I’ve said something to the effect of “Look out for Jai Paul, he’s what’s next, though he has been for five years and it’s possible we’ll never actually hear his album because he’s holed up in some studio outside LDN being a smoked-out perfectionist denying the world by overthinking his opus.”
Well shit, you crazy for this one, Jai: Below, RIGHT NOW, get a full-on listen of the entire self-titled Jai Paul debut LP. It’s a collection of 16 untitled tracks, though an official tracklist is likely to drop at some point given that we know at least three of these songs’ names already: #9 is “Jasmine,” #16 is “BTSTU,” and #7 is a cover of Jennifer Page’s “Crush.” Jai’s pulling from far more than South Asia with this sambar, but Track 2 is everything: A 115BPM tabla-dholak-and-ghungroo backbeat sourced into sidechain compression, flanged-out guitars, intergalactic bleeps, Hindi filmic singing, a sax line, and a Punjabi “Hoi!” for good measure. Which is to say nothing of his voice outside the production booth, as an actual human, which is inventively processed and meticulously harmonized and also the sex. This is incredible music. And for the Indian press corps: Welcome.
Stream here, download at Bandcamp, celebrate. As the wait for this record would suggest, there’s a lot to unpack.
Richard Russell and XL have been the ones on Jai since early on, though there’s no clear indication as to where they stand in relation to this unexpected Bandcamp drop-off. We’ll update when we know more, and with the tracklist, etc.