Canadian pianist and rapper Jason Charles Beck–we, the omniscient, call him Chilly Gonzales–took a musical road less traveled. After penning a string a moderately successful albums for Warner Bros., he picked up and moved to Berlin, determined to bolster his ‘image’ to the heights of his musicality. Success finally came in 2004 with Solo Piano, a plaintive recording of pared-down short works à la Erik Satie or, even, Jon Brion. Chilly has since become the most important musician you’ve heard (but never heard of), plunking notes in the shadows of indie darlings such as Peaches, Feist, Jamie Lidell, and even Daft Punk.
Gonzales is the sign of our times: a classically trained pianist who mixes the droll wit of Glenn Gould with the mashtastic dynamism of hip hop. Keep an ear to ground; this self-proclaimed “musical genius” has a few more trick cigars up his piano.