Electronic music is becoming more and more prevalent in all forms and genres but when it comes to chillwave, jazz has been involved from the very beginning. In fact, jazz more or less created chillwave electronica and trip hop, as the syncopation, tones and even melodies are taken directly from jazz and blues.
That said, in recent years chillwave has become its own thing and it almost a hundred percent electronic. While the jazz element is there, it’s more subtle and, well, chilled out, than in previous iterations. That’s where Proud Creature comes in with his upcoming EP, Opening Creature.
Todd Brozman is a jazz multi-instrumentalist with classical piano roots who has studied both electronic music and music theory for much of his life. He’s produced for a number of high-profile electronic acts such as Yeahsayer and KYOSi but now he’s created his own project in Proud Creature and has decided to put analog jazz back into chill electronica.
In Brozman’s own words, “This EP was produced entirely in my small studio where I recorded piano, synths, percussion, and various other instruments. Most of the instrumental parts were improvised which adds to the live and jazz-influenced sound of the music. I also incorporated a lot of field recordings and found sounds which give the music a certain spatial dimension and amplify the thematic tone of the album.”
With the rich tones contained in Opening Creature, listeners might not even recognize the instrumentals as being analog at all, let alone done by one person in a small studio. It’s likely, however, that those rich tones and the layering were created because of the said small studio and the focus on detail of that one person.
In “Major Trouble,” the first single from the EP teased on Opening Creature’s Soundcloud, the improvisational piano that moves along with the uniquely syncopated, almost industrial-sounding beat is just as smooth as anything in modern chillwave. That said, it’s definitely got more jazz than most chillwave tracks nowadays, so this track and indeed the whole EP are a declaration by Bozman as Proud Creature that these two tastes taste better together.
Other tracks on Opening Creature have a less jazz-forward, more dream pop vibe like “Eastern Lines” and “Pines,” while still others like “Discovery of the Future” and “The Rookery” have a more experimental bent. When an artist like Bozman comes along and really puts thought into their work, there’s something that almost everyone can appreciate, even in a seemingly niche space like jazz-focused chillwave. Here’s hoping Opening Creature continues Proud Creature on this journey long after the “opening.”
The full Opening Creature EP will be out on March 16. Keep an eye on Proud Creature’s Soundcloud for the drop. In the meantime, stream “Major Trouble” and get back with those jazzy chillwave vibes.