Of all the places you’d expect a genre-bending prodigy to hail from, Peru probably and understandably, failed to cross your mind.
It’s worth noting that Alejandro Chal, better known by his moniker, A.CHAL, is not simply Peruvian. Though his blood indeed runs blanquirroja, the singer-songwriter hails from Queens, New York.
His freshman EP, aptly named Ballroom Riots, is likely something you’ve never heard. Heavily influenced by his then home, Los Angeles, the EP teased at what would become the trademark of his music: electronic undertones, ethereal vocals, and an unmistakably psychedelic-inspired production value.
The adjoining visuals likewise pose a substantially complex combination of drug-saturated realities, riddled with trippy interferences and an undeniable measure of sultry scenes.
At the time, A.CHAL was more or less, undiscovered. His small success found him quickly signed with SONY and quickly hidden from the public eye.
In regards to this absence, Chal describes what he considered a bit of a spiritual rebirth. Following the falling out between himself and his close friends as the pains of smalltime fame began to set in, a slew of singles reintroduced A.CHAL to music with a fresh mind and a refined sound. Of these, the most popular was “Round Whippin”, which was featured on Beats1 and OVO Sound Radio in 2015.
Then finally, came the real deal. Chal released his 2016 project Welcome to GAZI, and was introduced to the legitimate stages of stardom.
The album brought the true nature of Chal’s musical style into focus.
Think Tron meets acid trip, meets tropical paradise, meets bedroom trap and you’ll understand that it’s indescribable and you just need to listen for yourself.
The simple fact of the matter is that you truly cannot pigeonhole A.CHAL into any particular genre. He transitions so smoothly between belting soulful lines and dropping technical bars that sometimes he’s gone from one to the other and back before you’ve recognized that it’s happened.
In a day and age marked by a transition from lyricism to vocals as a key part of the sound-engineered-whole, his skillset can’t be taken for granted.
Again, propelled by the success of Welcome to GAZI, his popularity skyrocketed as he found himself performing at Coachella, Rolling Loud, and other typical springboards where artists catch their stride. But 2017 soon proved that he was only getting started.
His talents have recently attracted the likes of Harlem’s own musical conglomerate powerhouse A$AP Mob, and gained him features from other mainstream juggernauts like French Montana.
Immersing yourself in his music is like travelling into a sexy, neon saturated version of the matrix. His affinity for adding a distinctly Latin aura to each track gets mixed with West Coast inspirations and East Coast origins. It results in an incredibly complex network of contradicting auditory styles that somehow mesh perfectly into a single product.
His ear for production and catchy beats is also something to admire. There’s an unmistakable attention to production and vocal talent, without seeming like it’s forced. That laid-back nature is likely one of the greatest assets to A.CHAL’s music, and something you probably wouldn’t notice unless it was pointed out. And that my friends, is the point.
Exerting extreme effort and making it look like you’re barely trying is much harder than it sounds and even more difficult when you take into account the amount of modern artists looking for an effortless yet technically sound finished product.
There’s always a moment just before an artist truly gets shot into the stratosphere. You know, that instant an artist transitions from a popular artist to a globe-trotting superstar. A$AP Rocky after releasing Long Live A$AP; Chance The Rapper after releasing Acid Rap; Future after DS2.
The latest addition to his impressive, young canon, ON GAZ is that moment for A.CHAL.
A.CHAL’s fan base expands daily, drawn like moths to the hallucinatory and kaleidoscopic non-reality that he paints with his music. It sets the stage for an intrinsic experience akin to an evening filled with potent psychedelics in a penthouse suite, leaving his audience proudly a part of the Achalian moth flock, mindlessly attracted to tantalizing perfection and beautiful views. After all, who can blame the moth when the light is so damn beautiful?