Unusual Object

Josh Johnson


STREET DATE: April 05, 2024

Releases April 5, 2024

Josh Johnson’s latest solo record, Unusual Object is a world of sound. Johnson’s fantastically processed saxophone and subtle samples and grooves give this work a sort of cyberpunk ambient jazz feel that occasionally crosses into realms akin to classic Warp Records and Jon Hassell’s dreamworld tonalities. But however fantastical and dreamlike Unusual Object may be, these qualities only serve to bring the listener closer to Johnson, to his breath, his sense of song. What, after all, could be more intimate than sitting inside someone’s fantasies and dreams?

Johnson executes this all with an indelible elegance, establishing him as a worthy contemporary of fellow modern avant-garde composers like Lea Bertucci, Ian William Craig, and Kelly Moran. Like the latter’s carefully considered prepared piano compositions, Unusual Object is stately, personal, and patently modern.

Johnson is a highly in-demand collaborator, working often with Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill and The Chicago Underground Quartet. He produced and played on Meshell Ndegeocello’s Grammy-nominated The Omnichord Real Book and worked for many years as musical director for Leon Bridges. He’s appeared on recordings by Broken Bells, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Harry Styles and his playing shines brilliantly on the Jeff Parker ETA Quartet’s Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy. Johnson indeed is an indelible part of the Los Angeles scene that gave shape to André 3000’s audaciously transcendent New Blue Sun. But Johnson is no mere supporting character.

Last year, he made a change. Pulling away from some of his more rigid gigs, Johnson chose to venture further into the realms of his own playing and to further sharpen his own compositional voice. Unusual Object, Johnson says, “is a development and documentation of a more personal world of sound.” This development has been ongoing, for sure, but often in the context of other people’s music. With Unusual Object Johnson asks: “What’s it like for me to create the context for my sound, to frame it myself?”

The answer is the spare but endlessly engaging Unusual Object, a work of futuristic jazz and modern composition that will appeal to fans of everything from Oneohtrix Point Never to Shabaka Hutchings, from Plaid to Ornette Coleman.

All sounds by Josh Johnson; except “Quince” which contains drum samples by Aaron Steele
All compositions and arrangements by Josh Johnson (Sky and City Music, BMI); except “All Alone” by Mal Waldron
Produced by Josh Johnson & Paul Bryan
Recorded by Paul Bryan in Pacific Palisades & Josh Johnson in Glassell Park
Mixed by Paul Bryan
Mastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters
Lacquer cut by Phil Rodriguez at Elysian Masters
Sequenced by Josh Johnson, Paul Bryan, & Anna Butterss
Design and Layout by Bucky Boudreau

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