Jasper Typical - BROTHER (Album Premiere)

By Eugene Cheng

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Zion Fadel, a.k.a. Jasper Typical, was exposed to two different perspectives of music from an early age. “My dad was all about the presentation and how music affected people,” he said. “My mom was more into the way it affected her. BROTHER is a mix of those two.”  

BROTHER is the debut album from Jasper Typical, who, along with fellow members of the Reddit-born Raised By The Internet collective, have been making waves in the post-BROCKHAMPTON era of internet music. The main thematic thrust of this project came from Fadel witnessing his friend’s younger brother traverse his adolescent years. In particular, he was fascinated by the process of “raising someone and teaching them about the world.”

Fadel credits his family members for shaping his early music tastes. “I grew up on very different styles of music,” he said. There were local Portland acts like The Velveteens and Hazel, as well as bigger acts like Sade, Andraé Crouch, and Radiohead. You can especially hear elements of Thom Yorke in Fadel’s unorthodox, falsetto-heavy vocal style.

Another artist who had had an impact on the Jasper Typical ethos is Frank Ocean, who was introduced to Fadel by his aunt. He isn’t shy about the mysterious crooner’s influence, noting that “he’s one of many new artists that came from Frank’s world.” The assorted audio clips present before and after many tracks on BROTHER, plus the use of disorienting vocal effects, has all the shades of Blonde’s most eccentric moments. 

 
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With family being a constant theme on BROTHER, the feeling of nostalgia naturally shows up throughout the track list as well. This theme most prominently in Fadel’s use of retro video game aesthetics in his production. Bitcrushed Pokémon impact sounds pop in and out on “DRIVE,” while synth choice on “INDIGO PLAZA” is reminiscent of Super Mario 64’s underwater stage.

“I’m a big Nintendo guy,” he explained, “because they’re all about creating worlds and characters you can relate to.” When asked which game he sees himself in the most, Fadel cites Mother 3 from the Earthbound series. The game’s focus on the fragility of innocence parallel’s Fadel’s own anxieties about his current transitional years—from his hometown Portland to Los Angeles, from high school to college, and from being surrounded by familial love to being forced to make his own connections.

Fadel wants BROTHER to be the backdrop of intimate relationships, whether with your parents and siblings or with your closest friends. Take a trip with your loved ones or go on a picnic. Whatever you do, be sure to make the most spontaneous memories possible. “Family is not perfect and friends are not perfect,” he said. “But if the love is unconditional, then you’ll be okay. That’s what BROTHER is all about.” 

Edward Chao