It goes without saying that for the past 10 years, Jay Haze has been one of the most interesting and engaging techno producers around, dealing with sounds as diverse as new classical, African and Latin American musics, and, of course, the minimal house genre. His dynamism and enthusiasm will be sorely missed, as Love = Evolution will be his final album, and will also mark the shutdown of his Tuning Spork and Contexterrior imprints. (It is worth noting, however, that Haze is not halting his musical output entirely, just shifting his priorities towards smaller releases as well as humanitarian causes).
The good news is that his swan song is an 11-song collection that sonically embodies everything that Haze does well—from the shimmering synths and disembodied voices of the title track to the Chicago house-flavored groove of "The Darkest Disco" (a collaboration with occasional partner-in-crime Ricardo Villalobos), Love = Evolution delivers what could be a perfect record. The wonky dubstep of "The Light," featuring Paul St. Hilaire, plays nicely off of the lushly dark Tangerine Dream sound of "I'm Riding High," and the plaintive tech-house of "I Wait for You" (featuring vocalist Laila Tov) contrasts nicely against the album closer, a subtly pulsing number which echoes The Aztec Mystic releases from Underground Resistance. As a listener, one can only marvel at and appreciate Haze's dedication to approaching sound from as many different angles as possible, as Love = Evolution is most certainly one of the high notes in Haze's storied tenure as a producer. Let's hope that he continues to follow his own path on future releases.