Recommended: Lord Raja – A Constant Moth

Since two weeks ago, and via the vast keenness of the people behind Ghostly International, we’ve had the pleasure of ruminating with a masterfully crafted debut LP, “A Constant Moth“. The LP comes by way of Chester Anand, who dons the Lord Raja pseudonym for only the second time. The full length arrives not exactly on the heels of the New York producer’s previous effort, seeing as the Rubies EP has been out since April of last year. Even though aspects of his current music lend a sense of continuity in style, in many cases with A Constant Moth, Raja is heard pitching change-ups that demonstrate how his production may have evolved for good.

As with Rubies, the album brims with an enveloping lushness that serves as either the backdrop or an anterior interest to his meticulous beat work. It doesn’t take long for the listener to learn that it’s still Raja’s beat orientation upon which he builds and crafts, with opener “Yelleo E” encasing a salvo of Chicago-indebted freneticism, a rhythmic allusion we haven’t heard from him before. Beside his experimentation with footwork, what’s more profound on A Constant Moth is Raja’s focus on the micro; this might sound like an ambiguous quality, but the producer’s ability to coalesce a plethora of granular textures track by track is what makes the album such an engaging listen without being over-produced. From the Jeremiah Jae-featuring “Van Go”—the rapper a usually low-key spitter from the West Coast who tapped Lord Raja for a beat on a mixtape this year—to second-half groover “De Lia Lu Lu”, the producer’s formula becomes astounding textural volume contained within more or less steady beat framework. In this respect, “Skyre” is a clear standout, a track in which meticulous drum programming seems in an attempt to bustle through a melody which stays just this side of melancholic (skyre means to shine bright or conspicuously in Scottish dialect). “Throw Them Out (System)”, meanwhile, is the most overtly Mid-West-geared track on the record—but, like other tracks, it might have your mind dancing more than your body.

A Constant Moth was released on December 2 on Ghostly International.

Michael Scala