Julien Chang is the sort of musician for whom the term ‘wunderkind’ was surely
invented. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Chang wrote his debut LP, Jules,
when he was just 16 and studying at high school. Absorbing a myriad of genres,
the album was influenced by everything from Tchaikovsky symphonies and
Gregorian chants to Afro-funk and futurist R&B. Self-produced and recorded
in his basement home studio, the album eventually earned him a record deal with
the London-based UK record label Transgressive – and subsequently, put his
music on a global stage.
Chang, now 20 years old, is
certainly deserving of that global stage. Something of a musical prodigy, he
started playing piano at the age of six and, by his early teens, was already
proficient in a variety of instruments. After studying classical and jazz at
the Baltimore School of Arts, Chang began composing his own songs – a glorious,
kaleidoscopic mix inspired by both his classical training and his voracious
appetite for musical genres.
proven by his impressive debut LP, Chang’s genius lies in his ability to seamlessly
stitch together those disparate musical elements. Parts of his music recall
early-2010s chillwave given a psych-rock makeover. Other tracks, meanwhile,
evoke the baroque, harmony-laden pop of Fleet Foxes.
Suffice to say, if he’s already making music this stunningly ambitious
at such a young age, we can’t wait to see what Julien Chang does next.
KEY TRACK: ‘Butterflies From Monaco’. Epic and engaging, this six-minute track begins with light, ambient synth work before
erupting into a breezy Beach Boys-style pop stomper.
FOR FANS OF: Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, BC Camplight.