Zodiac – Zodiac

Zodiac - Zodiac
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If you aren’t familiar with Jeremy Rose, you will be soon. If you’re at all curious about his background, he rose to prominence after kick starting the career of one Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) with his production on tracks including House of Balloons standouts “Loft Music” and “What You Need.” In fact, Tesfaye is said to owe much of his success to Rose, who has not only taken credit for the whole musical premise behind the project, but the name as well. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse, and he parted ways with The Weeknd, retreating and regrouping before signing a writing deal with super-producer Paul Epworth‘s new label, Wolf Tone. As if signing with an imprint run by the man behind artists like Bloc Party, Florence and the Machine, and Adele wasn’t impressive enough, Rose has just put out a self-titled solo EP under his new Zodiac moniker through Jacques Greene‘s label, Vase.

The Zodiac EP is essentially a teaser for bigger things to come. It’s comprised of lush RnB-leaning soundscapes, seeing Rose experiment with the sorts of foley sounds
and field recordings that Nicolas Jaar (amongst others) has made popular. Cavernous reverb and glossy synthesizers blend effortlessly, amounting to a sound that falls somewhere between Noah “40” Shebib and Clams Casino, although his production is much glossier and smoother than the latter.

“Girlgirlgirl” eases the listener in, climaxing with chopped up vocal samples over a huge downtempo rhythm. “So Soon We Change” follows a similar formula, although Rose begins to experiment with more ornate instrumentation and sacrifices the shoegaze-y feel of the opener for a jazzier groove. “Loss Config.” acts as a beautifully sinister interlude before epic closer “138,” the most energetic and irrefutably catchy instrumental on the EP.

However, the Zodiac EP’s greatest moment by some margin is “Come,” featuring Jesse Boykins III. Boykins croons over a gorgeous, hazy instrumental, a combo resulting in a sensuality that rivals (even surpasses) anything Rose achieved with The Weeknd. More than anything, “Come” feels like the moment things come full-circle, the moment Zodiac’s music reaches the heights it did on House of Balloons.

And while the rest of the EP is unquestionably gorgeous, it feels empty when stood up next to “Come.” One can’t help imagining what someone like A$AP Rocky or Drake would sound like over Rose’s beats. As a result, the Zodiac EP feels more like a placeholder than anything, a taste of what Jeremy Rose can do. Based on what he seems to have in the works, it should serve as a wonderful appetizer.

Ben McArthur

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