Chet Faker – Thinking In Textures EP

After a myriad of digital mixtapes that cemented pole position on Hype Machine, Melbourne muso Chet Faker, the enigmatic entity also known as Nick Murphy, has dropped his latest via Opulent/Remote Control records and it’s a doozy. Samples that bring to mind a tamed down Galapagoose mixed with the R&B of the Weeknd complement Chet’s smooth voice which carries a young soulfulness, a flipside to the outright suave sexiness of the 70s from such mainstays like Barry White. It’s here this craftsman’s contemporary sound allows him to explore the same theme with a fresh sounding earnestness that manages to epitomise twenty-first century music.
Chet’s affection towards hook-laden soulfulness can best be witnessed on the three opening tracks, all of which are single-ready. “I’m Into You” almost sounds like he has a rolled cigarette dangling from his mouth until it drops out when he lets boom on the catchy chorus, dashing it with “de-de-de-deh, de-de-de-deh” . “Terms and Conditions” follows suit – light keys over a pulsing whirring sample, themes of Greed and being Lost in Love as the bass drop in and out and the handclaps ebb and flow. Next up, Chet gets rid of the staccato piano and Dr Dre from the Blackstreet cover “No Diggity”, instead opting for Groove Armada-style keys – if you thought the first chorus came in strong here, he brings it bigger on the second chorus. It’s inspired, and very convincing that, well, Chet was born to say the word “shawty.”
After filler ‘Love and Feeling’ is Chet Faker’s pièce de résistance “Cigarettes And Chocolate”, a swirling masterpiece dissimilar from the rest of the album. Kicking off with lonesome violin-sounding sample that then gets textured and textured with kids talking, 8-bit style sounds, calypso guitar heavy in the mix and Chet’s repeating “ooo, in-in-in my mind”, its serotonin-exploding ethereal music – that pulsing kick drum, the absence of guitar at two-and-a-half minutes only to come back… it’s Sugar Mountain-worthy, no doubt.
Chet brings the sexiness back on the remaining songs. Penultimate track ‘Solo Sunrise’ is the most mature song on the EP. Semi-haunted with fuzz bass like a Louis Armstrong trumpet, there’s a smart layering of his smooth vocals that display this second-nature sexiness. So too is ‘Everything I Wanted’, a simple slow-burn song with breathy echoed vocals and Chet, once again, texturing the song seamlessly.

Listening to Thinking In Textures, you get the feeling Chet Faker knows the sound he wants: simultaneously it’s hyper-modern music to dance to for both boys and girls in the south-east but also his own soulful whisky-bar music for those northside. And on both fronts, it’s not like comparing apples and oranges of derivative music that wanders aimlessly, but like having an aubergine in play – it’s a unique record and, sexy enough, it’s telling of further down the track in this artist’s early career.
by David Claridad

April 1st 2012
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