One to watch: Vegyn

After cutting his teeth on Frank Ocean’s Blonde, the self-taught producer’s debut album confirms him as a star in his own right

At 25, Joe Thornalley has already contributed to one of the most influential albums of the decade. The self-taught south London-based producer, known as Vegyn, collaborated with Frank Ocean in 2016 on the latter’s seminal Blonde. Fast-forward to 2019 and Vegyn co-hosts Ocean’s Blonded radio show and has DJed at his New York club night, PrEP+.

The pair met at the now-defunct London club Plastic People, which is where Thornalley also crossed paths with James Blake. After handing Blake a USB of his productions at a 1-800 Dinosaur event in 2013, Blake was impressed enough to play a Vegyn track on his Radio 1 residency.

As these co-signs suggest, Thornalley specialises in lush, soft and vividly atmospheric beat-making that sits with ease beneath swirling rap and meandering pop/R&B. Full of skittering blips and beats, his polished sound is both future-facing and rooted in the 90s.

Last week, he released his debut album, Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds. The title alludes to Thornalley’s perfectionist, perpetually work-focused attitude, but the result is more outlandish than this might imply (he told Dazed that it was a feat of “insanely stoned experimentation”). Though there are features from soaring US rapper Jpegmafia, as well as French MC Retro X and the UK’s Jeshi, the album looks set to confirm Vegyn as a need-to-know artist in his own right.

Watch the video for It’s Nice to Be Alive by Vegyn.

Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds is out now on PLZ Make It Ruins


Tara Joshi

The GuardianTramp

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