Half Present (Independent)
Sure, it’s possible to appreciate the music of Funny Death without knowing any background—but to really get it, it’s worth digging into his story.
Born Jad Mroue, the artist has roots in Lebanon, the Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, and fled a number of war zones before settling in Vancouver. A nomadic soul, Mroue has been quoted as saying that nationalities and frontiers don’t matter to him—and that’s one of the reasons for the uniqueness of his music.
Heavily influenced by ’80s Japanese electronic tracks—a love he picked up during his time living in the country—the producer creates dreamy songs filled with meditative synthesizers and occasional reverbed vocals. Western melodies and lyrics form the foundations of his songs, and each is augmented by Japanese scale flourishes. On his first Canadian-written album, the expansive 19-track Half Present, Mroue has created a collection that would sound perfectly at home soundtracking the original Blade Runner movie or Ryan Gosling’s moody Drive—at once saturnine and sparkling with eastern energy.
Sure, it’s a niche part of culture that few stumble across—but the genre still boasts an ardent following in the West. Mroue perfectly taps into the scene, borrowing motifs from the era and transporting them into 2018 by floating them over glitchy funk bass lines in tracks like “Misswave” and the soulful bossa nova of “Toden Arakawa Line”. It might be miles away from mainstream EDM, but Half Present has plenty to hook electronic-music aficionados of all stripes.
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