A.Chal’s Debut Album is Slow-Mo R&B Whose Samples Reference Everyone from Maradona to El Chapo

Read more

Alejandro Chal first caught our eye a bit over a year ago with his single “GAZI,” the first song he’d released since his 2013 EP Ballroom Riots. During the two-year break between the EP and single, he experienced what he describes as a complete sonic and aesthetic rebirth. Welcome to GAZI is the Peruvian-born singer-producer’s 10-track LP, which serves as the culmination of his trials and tribulations as an artist.

A.Chal has received support from the likes of Beats 1’s Ebro, A$AP Rocky, and OVO Sound. Welcome To GAZI showcases his ability to unexpectedly blend genres in a way that’s all his own, and it’s caused these influential figures and platforms to take notice. His sensibility for slow-motion R&B, rap conventions like voicemail sampling, druggy soundscapes, and low-pass filters shines here. One of the standout tracks off the project, “Far From Home,” was even premiered by Beats 1’s Zane Lowe in March of this year.

“Round Whipping,” a previously released song, remains one of the strongest tracks on the project. It pairs a synth-heavy beat with some of his edgier vocals to create a piece that really keeps your attention all the way through. Meanwhile, “Right Now” uses an audio sample of El Chapo’s interview with Kate del Castillo and Sean Penn before going into one of his harder, more aggressive productions. The chorus shifts into a more expected pop R&B direction, as he manipulates his emotional vocals in verses into catchy, chant-driven choruses.

While much of the project is evidently influenced by The Weeknd and the sex-and-drugs-obsessed persona he’s fashioned, A.Chal flexes his range and own take on the genre throughout the project, interspersing Spanish phrases on tracks like “Fuego.” “Beverly Kills” is another breath of fresh air from the internet R&B formula, since it’s reminiscent of Take Care-era Drake and Kanye West’s under-appreciated 808s & Heartbreak project. The beat has a steady drumline that matches his monotonous flow, and the listener is swallowed up by a catchy hook.

Welcome To GAZI is only 31 minutes long, yet in this short time A.Chal able to show off wildly different sounds that come together to create a dreamy, yet eerie soundscape that puts the LA-based singer in a lane of his own.