Pop & Hiss

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Nosaj Thing brings new visual show to L.A. Be sitting down for this.

December 11, 2009 |  3:51 pm

A few months ago, I spent a pretty considerable swath of time with Jason Chung, the young producer and mainstay of the Low End Theory club night in Lincoln Heights who performs as Nosaj Thing. When it comes to L.E.T.'s live sets, Flying Lotus might be the virtuoso and Gaslamp Killer is the unhinged showboat, but Nosaj is the quiet, serious one -- the scene's George Harrison, if you will. Chung always looks as though he's having an argument with his laptop rig onstage, poking and wrangling and retreating like the thing is a downed power line.

Chung's live set is about to get a whole lot more involved. This Sunday he's staging a synapse-rupturing video show in Los Angeles that looks to absolutely remake his entire live performance experience. Designed by his girlfriend, Julia Tsao, and collaborator Adam Guzman, it uses dramatic contrasts in lights and shapes to manipulate depth perception and seemingly remake the room around Chung.

"We were really inspired by Cornelius and Daft Punk," Chung said. "With so many electronic artists and DJs, there are often visuals, but they feel irrelevant to the music. We wanted more of a total experience."

The set -- which Chung officially debuted this year at the Pop Montreal festival -- begins as a pointedly abstract, black-and white series of flashes and geometric figures that establish a mood and pace. As the set progresses, the visuals eventually open into more colorful and depth-distorting fields. The visual elements are actually performed live by Guzman and Tsao, as opposed to being triggered by Chung's music.

"We really wanted to play with perception and disorient the audience," Guzman said. "Towards the end, it gets really hard to tell where Jason is onstage."

Given the difficulties of making electronica look interesting -- a problem many Low End artists are already cracking -- Nosaj's new set looks to be a huge step forward in that regard. And for Guzman and Tsao -- both Art Center vets -- this set hopefully will be the start of two long careers in making boundary-breaking music feel even more otherworldly.

-- August Brown

Nosaj Thing performs Sunday at Brainfeeder Sessions at the Downtown Independent, 251 S. Main St., L.A. 8 p.m. $10.