The first time I saw Jason Ross was when he opened for Seven Lions at Echostage in Washington, DC in 2018. As an Anjunabeats enthusiast, I was familiar with Ross’ music, but watching him perform live was a true testament to his skills as an artist. By the time he played his second track, his music had pulled at my heartstrings and I’d forgotten who I originally came to see.
After that first time seeing him, I took a vested interest in following Ross’ career, and it’s never ceased to impress me. Now, fresh off the release of his first full-length album, “1000 Faces”, released on Ophelia Records, it’s clear that Ross has come into his own as a musician and has perfected his unique and emotionally-charged sound.
The mark of a good producer and DJ is their ability to tell a story through their music, and that’s exactly what Ross does. It is a moving story of love, loss, and finding oneself—something each and every one of us has experienced.
The new album is just as magical as Ross’ EP “Rooms”, which came out last year. But as a producer, Ross has grown by leaps and bounds. While there are moments on “1000 Faces” that remind the listener of Above & Beyond, Seven Lions, and Illenium, Ross’ melodic and bass-driven sound is in a realm of its own. From the second you hear the intro track, you are pulled into the narrative Ross is weaving and ready to go on this journey with him.
Fiora’s breathy and stunning vocals have the ability to bring the listener to tears within the first few bars of the song, “When The Night Falls”, as she sings: “I watch the sunlight catch your eye, like a dancer as we move under the light, as she falls deeper into sky, I feel safer when I’m wrapped up in the night”. If you’ve shared a moment with someone special at a festival, this song takes you back to when nothing else seemed to exist besides the two of you. Honestly, this track made me ache for festival season.
“One That Got Away“, which features the smooth vocals of Dylan Matthews moves the love story along to that point in a relationship where you realize how much you have to lose. “I’ve had too many lonely days, starin’ at my phone, wishin’ all this pain away, I wonder if you notice, babe, you’re the only one that could make me feel this way, yeah, I’m selfish, but I can’t let you leave, yeah, baby, if it’s up to me, you will never be the one that got away.”
And just as the emotion builds to its climax, Ross’ signature bass drop comes into play and if you weren’t dancing already, you’ll find yourself involuntarily swaying under the spell of Ross’ melody.
The album’s standout track “Shelter” features the vocal stylings of Melanie Fontana and is both upbeat and impactful. This track emulates what makes Ross’ sound so special. He has the uncanny ability to tug at your emotions by hitting you with poetic, often soul-crushing lyrics and then uplifting you with jaw-dropping bass drops.
Of all the songs, “Leave Me Wonder” demonstrates Ross’ desire to experiment with his one of a kind sound. The flamenco guitar shakes things up and the track’s “chill” nature mimics the same elements as the intro.
Diehard Ross fans are already familiar with “Known You Before”, his collaboration with Seven Lions and vocalist Emilie Brandt. Its catchy lyrics will make you wish you were hopelessly in love if you aren’t already: “Love songs make so much sense on replay in my head, I swear I’ve known you before, your cosmic energy trapped in my memory, I swear I’ve known you before”.
The title track, “1000 Faces”, resonated with me as it’s an anthem about finding inner peace and coming to terms with the complexities that make you who you are. It’s cathartic but there is remorse layered between the brilliant lead lines and lyrics: “I found you in my shadow, beside you a thousand faces I don’t know, so what am I missing, half of me is living, I found you, in my shadow”.
The placement of each track on “1000 Faces” is intentional, and the last song is no exception to this rule. Ross ends the album with “Not Good At Letting Go”.
For many of us, myself included, we were drawn to this music because we have experienced inner pain and loss at some point, and that pain has often made us feel alone. But Ross’ universally relatable lyrics remind us that we are not alone: “I wove myself into, every little part of you, can’t someone tell me, oh, what the hell I’m supposed to do?”
The song continues: “So can we take it slow? I need a little closure, I’m scared of going home, all alone when this is over, ‘Cause I thought you were the best of me.” This line pierced me like a dagger and reminded me of that moment after you break up with someone and it dawns on you that this particular chapter of your life is over. But you have to move on and you have to let go to begin your own healing. The emotional depth of “Not Good At Letting Go” is a perfect way for Ross to conclude the album’s musical journey.
There’s a maturity and sophistication in “1000 Faces” that make it difficult to believe it’s Ross’ first full-length album. No stranger to the scene, Ross has come a long way over the course of his career and shows no signs of slowing down.
*Featured Image of Jason Ross Via Echostage FB Page*