Jai Paul, Illegally uploaded Jai Paul record (some criminal)
This is 2013 for ya: my favourite album so far is actually a collection of unfinished demos of wildly varying bitrates created by a man so mysterious, the fact that it was uploaded without warning or song titles onto Bandcamp last Saturday night made perfect sense. It turns out the songs were illegally obtained from his stolen laptop and sometime in the coming days I’ll be refunded the 7 GBP I enthusiastically plunked down on them without a second thought. The Bandcamp has been taken down, and sometime early Friday the songs were removed from YouTube, but the Internet is a vast place so consider seeking them out.
Jai Paul, a London producer and prized XL Recordings signee, was an active MySpacer who caught the ear of his countrymen a few years back with “BTSTU” (as well as Drake and Beyoncé, who both sampled it). It’s a fractious R&B cut built on split-second notes, dynamic phasing, a laser-questing bridge and a barely there falsetto. Last year he re-emerged from the internet ether with the similarly constructed, equally potent single “Jasmine,” along with a cameo on the latest Big Boi record.
Otherwise, nada. No shows and only one interview to speak of. He started his Twitter account solely to inform his ecstatic fans that the Bandcamp release was a fake. The ultimately fraudulent self-titled debut is 16 tracks long, and a bunch of them are short instrumentals. Many of them also end or fade out abruptly, which should have been the first clue that something was amiss.
Yet still, the songs are undoubtedly his and, even in their embryonic states, are jaw-dropping. It’s like hearing early Timbaland — that feeling of getting walloped by fast and slow sounds and not knowing how such loose fragments could come together so smoothly. In Jai Paul’s case, his unique production traits include sharply stuttering sounds, like they’ve been cut and pasted repeatedly, and a dynamic range that’s all over the map. If you need a familiar jumping off point, his cover of Jennifer Paige’s ’90s radio smash “Crush” morphs the innocently cheesy tune into a futuristic, funky Prince jam.
Countless records are legitimately posted on Bandcamp every day and promptly ignored. Jai Paul will release a real album at some point, and when that happens I’ll gladly drop another 7 GBP for it, but there’s no point pretending the leak didn’t happen if you’re starved for a new, invigorating sound. “Jasmine” and “BTSTU” remain alive and well and purchasable, so start there.
It would be a tremendous shame if slinky, tropical, Tomb Raider-sampling jam Track 15 (aka “All Night”) is never heard from again because of clearance issues.
Disclosure, “You & Me” feat. Eliza Doolittle
From Surrey, England, bros Guy and Howard Lawrence are Disclosure, a poppy electronic act on the verge of releasing their debut LP (June 3, in the U.K. anyway). Check this single.
If you gravitate toward gritty art that makes your skin crawl and stomach churn a little, you’re going to dig a local act called ¡Flist!, and this video directed by ¡Flist! main man Charlie Twitch. The Songs of Love for Jewish Girls EP is out June 24 on Art Not Love Records.