In BEING, Jason Dhakal’s take on the R&B/Soul genre this time around is even more sensual than what we’re used to hearing from him.
Since dropping his self-released EP Night In back in 2018, it was clear that the Filipino singer-songwriter was sure in knowing what sort of sound he wanted to claim for himself. The ideas established early on from his 2020 debut LOVESOUND were already quite promising, but with BEING—it seems as if we’re finally getting a full peek of Dhakal under the covers.
Dhakal builds upon the strong foundation of his prior works and makes BEING his most cohesive and full-bodied project to date. Whether it’s by pining after a mixed-signals lover or reflecting on the changes that adulthood brings, his exploration of the alluring nature of desire is an entrancing set of sounds that flows well with every succeeding track.
Think of the styles that Frank Ocean, Brent Faiyaz, or Daniel Caesar made popular, but make it even more unapologetically queer. Dhakal is unashamed to authentically be himself across the record’s 11 tracks, and he still manages to carry every bit of his vocal delivery with such suave candor. The use of trumpet horns in the latter half of “can’t get enough” complements this aspect greatly, while the smoothness of the saxophone in the majority of “manila” only adds to the underlying overtones of sexiness that are integrated into the album.
The production by longtime collaborator LUSTBASS highlights the excellent pairing of the two once again, given that it’s never an overkill of elements — rather, it works as a perfect harmonization of both their talents. It shines further on tracks like the sultry setting that “remember?” evokes, the jazzy beats of “on me”, and also on one of the album’s best songs, “what’s ur move?”.
However that isn’t to say that Dhakal doesn’t get more contemplative as the album goes by. As the closer “growing up” highlights, we’re introduced to a different side of him — one which braces for the impending reality that adulthood sets in. Though maturity of the sexual nature has already been tackled throughout most of Dhakal’s career, this track brings up an entirely new definition to the word in his context.
In its entirety, BEING is an example of the stark evolution that sees Dhakal assured in both identity and sound. Though he still retains a lot of the playful banter that drew us into his world, a warm embrace lingers from the album’s hold on its listeners.
Focus Tracks: “what’s ur move?”, “can’t get enough”, “on me”
Listen to Jason Dhakal’s BEING below: