Toronto-based producer Zodiac (aka Jeremy Rose) has been relatively quiet since the release of his self-titled EP on Jacques Greene’s Vase-Forever label and the whole Abel Tesfaye fiasco. With the exception of a remix for Arclight and a feature in RBMA’s #Hashtag video series, the lightning rod producer has been almost entirely absent from the music listening public’s general consciousness. Woe is us, the silence is suffocating. With remarkable timing though, Rose emerged today with a remix for Glass Animals, our favorite British psychedelic R&B act and one of the most underrated acts on either side of the Atlantic. In typical fashion, the remix shows remarkable restraint, relying on reverberating synth pads and the deep, stultified sonics that have become Rose’s greatest signifiers. Oh and you should really listen to Glass Animals if they haven’t already entered your library. Stream Zodiac’s remix below and pre-order the 12″ here (out July 29 on Wolf Tone).
Jeremy Rose aka Zodiac recently contributed to a Red Bull Music Academy feature (which you can view after the jump) on the rise of so called “Alt-RnB”. The video features Rose, Miguel, How To Dress Well and BadBadNotGood and makes a pretty solid attempt at deciphering what makes “ethereal” pop music so damn enticing while dispelling some of the silly connotations the internet has attributed to this group of artists. To complement the RBMA feature, Rose released a new Zodiac jawn that certainly would be bolstered by one of the aforementioned crooners (or former vocal partner Jesse Boykins III), but functions rather well as an instrumental. As much as I hate to say it, ethereal is the perfect adjective for “PE1”, which halts and stutters through a series of vocal chops, off beat percussion and screaming samples. Stream “PE1” below and watch the full RBMA feature after the jump.
Unreleased Jacques Greene, Zodiac, Ango, Arclight and Samoyed. Free unreleased Jacques Greene, Zodiac, Ango, Arclight and Samoyed. Sound a little bit like heaven? Nope, just VSE07, the latest (did I mention free) release from Greene’s Vase imprint. All hyperbole aside, VSE07 is a solid collection of unreleased and remastered jawns that are sure to get your skin tingling if you have any interest in the sounds Montreal has been promulgating over the past few years. The comp was originally a freebie for attendees of a Vase showcase in London last month, but Greene and his compatriots were too kind to allow this one to slip away into the ether. Arclight’s “Obsidian” is the tape highlight and sees the duo taking on psych rock. Stream “Obsidian” below and grab the full comp here.
Incest generally has some negative connotations, but when it’s remix incest between members of Jacques Greene’s Vase label, I just can’t get enough of it. It’s fair to say that Jeremy Rose aka Zodiac has shed the weight of the expectations built on The Weeknd controversy and built an impressive resume of individual productions. Rose’s latest is a remix of Arclight’s “Vitamin D”, off of the Hollographic EP. Whereas the original explores abstract ambience, Zodiac kicks it into gear, applying hip hop percussion for a result not dissimilar to Shlohmo’s first few beat tapes. Breathing and heavily chopped vocals are utilized as the main instruments amid Rose’s blunt percussion. With Arclight’s impressive vocal work and Zodiac’s dexterity in the realm of hip hop and R&B, the duo could prove formidable if they ever get together again. Oh and Vase stays winning. Stream below. (Via.)
It would be difficult to discuss Jeremy Rose aka Zodiac’s new EP without referencing his work with Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd (or The Weekend as Rose originally dubbed it) so we’ll get it out of the way now. Back in March, a VICE article/interview introduced Rose as the man behind House Of Balloons standouts “What You Need” and “Loft Music”, as well as a slower version of “The Morning”. Rose explains that he helped devise the “dark R&B” sound that The Weeknd is now heavily associated with and that “The Weekend” was initially comprised of himself and Tesfaye. Eventually, the two split ways, partially over artistic differences (Tesfaye wanted to make club tracks), but also because Rose realized that Tesfaye had no intention of paying him, which he has yet to do for his work on House Of Balloons. Maybe more importantly, Rose wasn’t given any production credits on the album. Abel’s camp has yet to comment of the affair, but it sure seems like some fuckery to me. Anyways, all beef aside, Rose’s early work with Abel functions as an excellent forebear to his debut EP as Zodiac.
Zodiac‘s first track, “Girlgirlgirl”, is essentially an announcement that Rose can stand on his own two feet as an artist. Prior to this EP, all we’d heard from Zodiac was the three tracks with Abel and a few scattered, unfinished joints on his Soundcloud. An impressive and tantalizing group of tracks, but not much that pointed to Rose’s ability to perform sans vocalist. “Girlgirlgirl” is tight and deliberate, utilizing cold synth pads to establish a cinematic atmosphere. Vocals are carefully manipulated and the low end sounds boom without relinquishing any of the beauty in the circumspective vocal arrangements. “Girlgirlgirl” is technically proficient, evocative if not a little bit tepid.
The Jessie Boykins III assisted “Come” is the EP’s only vocalist assisted track and also its pinnacle. Stretching the limits of what most consider R&B to entail, Boykins and Rose bring to mind James Blake and Mount Kimbie more than it does Jeremih or Miguel. More than anything, the song is indicative of the aesthetic direction R&B has taken in the face of the David Guetta-ization of radio pop.
So why don’t you ever come to my house. So why don’t you come over, we can hang out you know/Get high, we can get you know/Or something… Maybe not.”
At times, the EP sounds a little too broad, opting to mix too many styles in too precise of a manner. “Come” is the most focused bit of work and the remaining three tracks, “So Soon We Change”, “Loss Config.” and “138” involve a menagerie of in vogue hip hop and dance tropes. Drawing from LA and Atlanta equally, Rose invokes Trap as much as the more ambient strains of Beat music. While the EP is painted in broad strokes, it still impresses in the technical department, a result of Rose’s perfectionist tendencies.
If nothing else, Zodiac is an introduction to the many faces of Jeremy Rose beyond the cloak of The Weeknd, proving his dexterity across multiple styles and genres. If you haven’t heard, Rose recently signed a contract to work with Paul Epworth (yeah that Paul Epworth) at Epworth’s Wolf Tone imprint, a move that should open up many new and exciting opportunities. For now, the EP is an impressive primer to Zodiac, the solo artist, a name we will be hearing a lot in the coming years.