Nosaj Thing brightens up Jamie Isaac's nocturnal world on "Next To Me."



Back in 2018, talking about Jamie Isaac's predilection for somnambulistic grooves, the website The Independent writes:

"But when it comes to his music, he chooses a life of solitude.

“I prefer writing in the early hours of the morning," he says. "No one is around, there’s no sound, no distractions. Night time is a beautiful time, man. It’s romantic, I like it a lot. Especially in the winter, it’s just dark. You leave your house to go to the shop and everyone has already gone home and had their dinner. You just think you’re some night crawler.”

They go on to discuss Isaac's musical pedigree, being raised by music-loving parents on a steady diet of funk and soul. While other kids his age were out partying, he was locked in his room crooning over jazz piano chords. It paid off, as the precocious singer/songwriter/producer had two full-lengths out by the time he was 23. By that point, Isaac was getting to be known for his signature jazz noirish sophisti-pop. But like in film, sometimes being too recognizable can be a bad thing. You run the risk of being typecast.

That's what makes "Next To Me" so thrilling. Nosaj Things' fizzy beats and neon synths heat things up from Isaac's usual laidback chill. It's a good look for Isaac, too. Instead of crooning over jazz chords, Isaac's mellow, silken vocals crest over Nosaj Things' locked beats and Wurlitzer-like synths, like coasting along on a pad of air. It could still be the soundtrack for a wine bar, just one from 2035 with plenty of blacklights and dry ice fog.

"Next To Me" is the newest single from an EP between the two due out later this week. If "Next To Me any indication of the quality of this EP, We Are: The Guard are officially stoked.


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.