Well, this is a pleasant surprise. The mysterious lo-fi electronic pop artist Jai Paul unexpectedly released his self-titled debut album on his bandcamp page last night. Up to this point, Jai Paul's three year career has literally consisted of two songs that have been good enough to get him massive recognition and single releases on one of the UK's biggest indie labels XL Recordings (home of Vampire Weekend, The xx, Jack White, and Adele among others). That song, "BTSU", known by most as the "Don't Fuck With Me" song, was also sampled by Drake on his song "Dreams Money Can Buy".
So yeah, this has been a highly anticipated album, or at least people get excited about it every time they listen to either "BTSU" (track 16) or his excellent song from last year, "Jasmine" (track 9). And here it is, stuttering beats, off-the-wall samples, lots of effects, excellent pop songs and all. Listen to and download it below.
"I know I've been gone a long time, but I'm back and I want what is mine." -Jai Paul
Wait, it's gone!
.................................... What happened here, you ask???
UPDATE: XL Recordings released their official statement about the album leak. I guess I was wrong. Wouldn't be the first time lol :)
As widely reported, on Sunday 14th April, music by XL Recordings artist Jai Paul was illegally made available via a fake Bandcamp account. This music was not uploaded by Jai and it's not his debut album - it is a collection of various unfinished recordings from Jai's past.Neither XL or Jai will take any money from the sale of this music. We have been working with Bandcamp and PayPal to resolve this situation and they have told us all purchases will be refunded within the next 7 days
Still a solid release though ... Hopefully it can be shared sometime soon.
Allow me to elaborate on the mystery of Jai Paul's
Glad I listened to my intuition on that one because, lo and behold, come Monday, controversy arises and the bandcamp page disappeared. The album should be right here, where I am writing this, but it's gone. Now, I'm not writing this to try and make anyone jelly that I have it and you don't; I just wish this album could be shared. I mean, I honestly think this whole thing is bullshit. Not that I'm angry, I just don't buy the story.
"The story" I'm referring to is broken down in detail here, but it simplifies down to: someone stole Jai Paul's laptop and put the album up for sale without his permission. Even though there have been numerous tweets confirming the story, something just doesn't add up to me. The article I linked to above noted that the firstname.lastname@example.org the receipt for the bandcamp purchase was sent from links to Jai Paul's official email. Not sure exactly how he found that out, but if that's true, then it's all kinda fishy. It could just be an elaborate publicity stunt. Actually, I'm pretty sure it is. Allow me to explain why I feel this way.
Aside from the piece of email evidence, I have some other reasons for believing it's a very, very clever PR stunt/troll by Jai Paul. For one, the investigative article I linked to says that the release "sounds like a collection of unheard demos." Well, that makes me wonder if he has ever listened to Jai Paul's music. One would think that he wouldn't be so quick to rule out the possibility that this is how Jai Paul wanted his debut album to sound. I'm definitely not ruling it out yet. Truthfully, this album(?) sounds more "produced" than either of Jai Paul's two official singles for XL. Even those singles sound like they've been remastered and touched up a bit on this album(?) to my ears.
I think Jai Paul just has an obsession with trying to capture the feeling and sound of bumpin' a good pop album on a high quality sound system at a house party, or in a club, or in a car. I think he actually records everything "second-hand," through a good set of speakers rather than the preferred production method of plugging directly into a Protools rig or the like. Then, he proceeds to compress the hell out of everything so that certain sounds and effects (read: the kick) overwhelm the whole mix. But, he does it in such a way that it sounds excellent. I can't figure that one out.
But yes, there's that, and the fact that this album, mixtape, whatever you want to call it, sounds very on purpose. There's no way some random person just knicked Paul's laptop and threw the songs up in this perfect order. It's possible, I suppose, that this was an early version of his album, all set up in perfect order, and the person "just happened" to know it was there and "just happened" to know exactly where to find it on his laptop. If that was the case, it would have to be someone Paul knew really well then, right?
And last, but not least, there's this: Everything Jai's released officially up to this point has been released in the second or third week of April, right around 4/20 (can't imagine why that would be haha). That right there seems pretty obvious to me.
But enough with the speculation. What we know up to this point is that Jai Paul is incredibly talented and that this whole ordeal is only going increase the anticipation of his debut album even more. He's probably laughing right now at all the people like me on the internet writing things like this, but that's alright. I'm glad to add to the hype because I appreciate what he's doing to shake up the music industry and keep the blog-o-sphere on its toes.
Oh, and the album, the release in question, the one I have a copy of, it's really fuckin' good. Definitely get a copy as soon it exists again. For now, I'll share this brief preview someone posted on YouTube of the first 15 minutes of it. It will be just enough to get you wanting more, but hey, it's better than nothing, right? ;)