Zodiac is the moniker of Toronto producer Jeremy Rose who is behind some The Weeknd’s earlier songs and more recently Paul Epworth’s first signee to his Wolf Tone imprint. Few details have emerged about this partnership, but the concept behind it seems open to say the least: working with someone as accomplished as Paul cannot be a misstep. At some point before this signing he linked up with Jacques Greene who was the first person to remix one of his tracks. This meeting of two of Canada’s premier artists led to Rose releasing his debut “Zodiac” EP on Jacques’ Vase label. A continuation of what we heard on tracks like “What You Need”, the EP dives deeper into the sleazy soundscape that attracted us to his music in the first place.
Stream: Zodiac – Zodiac EP (Preview) (Vase)
The opener “Girlgirlgirl” shows how much he’s honed in on his sound in the last year. Its pads, just a tad shy of depressing, breathe over the sluggish beat along with a myriad of standout samples. Horns, stretched vowel-centric vocals, and overall the orchestral feeling of the track make for a booming yet low-key start. Then there’s “Come” with Jesse Boykins III, which has been floating around for the last few months. It’s like a match made in heaven; the neo soul singer’s voice compliments the transparency of the instrumental perfectly: Jesse paints a picture of a sensual, to say the least, encounter with an acquaintance while Rose’s production weaves in and out of the spaces in Jesse’s lyrics. The loose and wavy atmosphere he crafts leaves little to be desired.
Stream: Zodiac – Come ft. Jesse Boykins III (Vase)
“So Soon We Change”, where do we even begin? The quiet and obviously sampled introduction (and by introduction we mean three seconds) fooled us into thinking we were in for another slow ballad. Once those kicks start pounding it’s clear we’re listening to something special. For one, the rhodes versus guitar ratio on the sample he uses is perfect. It’s uncomplicated, welcoming and foremost unbelievably catchy; try not to hum this while walking down the street. The hook is like a shot adrenaline for the track, it basically morphs into a trippy marching band. He’s mentioned Boards of Canada as an influence on his music and even though it was always slightly present it didn’t really creep up until “Loss Config.”. Birds chirp, synths drip and at times outright spill over each other for a minute and a half interlude before the final track “138” comes in. The closer is hefty and smoked-out like knackered house through a hip hop lens. Buzzing hi-hats and bright vowel synth leads move with the kick. The overall vibe sounds like something a Juicy J on opiates would spit over or better yet, any of A$AP crew. If this is how Mr. Rose sounds right out of the gate, we cannot imagine what he’ll let loose once Paul Epworth officially takes him under his wing. This is one of the few releases where having more vocalists would do the instrumentals more justice, but all in good time. The vibes are abundant on this EP and not only is this a big step for Zodiac, but for Vase as a label.
Zodiac’s Zodiac EP is available now Vase.