From his work as ringleader of the tongue-in-cheek Mall Music Inc. collective to the set of high-BPM Drake edits he released last year to his habit of performing live with a T-shirt covering his face, there’s a giddy, playful energy running through everything DJ Paypal does. The Berlin-via-North Carolina producer’s first release on Brainfeeder Records, the hip L.A. home of Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Kamasi Washington, builds on that vibe by corralling hip-hop, jazz and soul influences into a hyperactive dance party.
The title track, whirring like an emergency news bulletin, sets the pace early, and the seven songs that follow showcase Paypal’s deft hand at chopping and looping vocals, chaotic drum programming and bright vocoder lines. A percolating African rhythm gives way to frenzied hollers on “Slim Trak”; elsewhere, “Ahhhhhhh” and the horn-heavy “Awakening” reimagine jazz with a foundation of breakneck Chicago footwork beats. Sold Out often feels like a transatlantic family gathering, with strong contributions from artists like DJ Taye, Feloneezy and Jackie Dagger, all fellow members of the global Teklife crew. The most intriguing collaboration is “Say Goodbye,” featuring Keiska and PC Music-affiliated producer Tielsie: It’s a wistful, seven-minute-long chorale for just after the house lights are brought up on the dance floor. Then there’s the soulful, DJ Earl-assisted “We Finally Made It”, which builds around a sample of a female singer intoning “We’ve only just begun” – a line that doubles as an appropriate descriptor of Paypal’s continuing upward trajectory.