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Fated is L.A.-based Jason Chung’s third album in six years, a 15-track and 34-minute wonder that serves as a continuation of the sound he established in Home (2013) and Drift (2009). Chung’s work as Nosaj Thing thus far has been about “measuring and manipulating an audible distance between lucidity and obscurity” (David Hogg) and this album is no different.
On Fated, Chung combines his masterful production with his usual transcendent and ethereal sound—and the result is pretty sublime. He maintains a strong control over the whole album, from the carefully constructed vibe of it all, to the finer details of each individual track.
“Don’t Mind Me” is one highlight from the album, featuring vocals by Whoarei, who boasts a production credit on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and is signed to Chung’s label Timetable. The track is upbeat and yet pretty glum, and is definitely one of my favourites.
“Cold Stares” features Chance the Rapper and Maceo Haymes (The O’My’s). The track picks up when Chance starts rapping introspective verses over Chung’s ethereal beat: “Silent and solemn, Smeagol to Gollum / Evil done got him / Doctors say we believe its a problem / Possessed by a demon, they won’t leave it inside him”. Obviously any LoTR reference is a winner and Chance’s rapping is on point. He continues with a depressing look into the world of drug addiction: “Devil whistles in his ear, out of tune / On an empty ass bed, can’t remember how to spoon / Can’t forget how the spoon / Was the bowl for the soup for his arm”.
My favourite tracks on the album are those where the narrative is aided by a vocalist, but that’s not to say that Chung is any less moving without one. “A” is one such track, featuring no vocals but is still a stuttering 2 minutes that works pretty well. “Light #5” is also worth a mention, following “Light #1” and “Light #2” from Drift and Home’s “Light 3”. It’s cool to see this progression and it’s so interesting to see this become a recurring theme in each of Chung’s albums.
The album flows well and it moulds itself into a continued sound; the tracks blend effortlessly to create a harmonious listening experience that can easily turn into background noise. It’s not exactly an album that demands your attention, but Fated is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of acts like Flying Lotus and El-P.