Photography by Sean Berrigan
Courtesy of Vase Records

Zodiac’s debut record

January 10 2013
8:39 PM

If you’re a fan of The Weeknd’s distinctively dark, brooding, drug-inflected R&B, then most likely you’re already a devotee of Toronto producer Zodiac, aka Jeremy Rose. This is because Rose claims he’s the unheralded mastermind behind The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye, who crooned over Rose’s beats on the first three singles that were leaked to bloggers. This was before Drake and the New York Times caught on and orchestrated The Weeknd’s astoundingly rapid underground-to-mainstream success. Rose even claims he came up with Tesfaye’s moniker before the “e” was dropped — this predated the band’s split due to “creative differences.” After this, Tesfaye even withheld production credits from Rose (which went to Doc McKinney and Illangelo). Amid the airing of all this dirty laundry, it’s easy to overlook Rose’s sound, which is still The Weeknd through and through. After the affair with Tesfaye, Rose has gone on to produce tracks under the new moniker Zodiac. He released a self-titled EP on September 24 featuring the single “Come.” This track takes The Weeknd’s trademark sound and brings it to a more complex experimental place. Muffled, slimy tracks infused with heavy synthesizers and a Burial-like sheen of gothic techno continue the sonic trajectory Rose established with Tesfaye back in the day at a house party in Toronto. Although he’s learning from past relations (and bad blood), Zodiac is making his mark defiantly solo. (David Everitt Howe)