Nicolas Jaar- Don’t Break My Love EP

Hey, everybody! It’s the Internet’s busiest music nerd here, Anthony Fantano. Sup? I hope you’re well. Here I am on my text thing again. Damn, it feels good to be a texter. Or writer. Whatever. This time, I’m putting my thoughts on the new Nicolas Jaar EP into words. This dude is a New York […]

Hey, everybody! It’s the Internet’s busiest music nerd here, Anthony Fantano. Sup? I hope you’re well. Here I am on my text thing again. Damn, it feels good to be a texter. Or writer. Whatever.

This time, I’m putting my thoughts on the new Nicolas Jaar EP into words. This dude is a New York electronic music producer. He dropped an album I reviewed earlier this year, Space Is Only Noise. Actually, I uploaded my review the day Radiohead’s new album came out. As a result, I think a lot of my followers might have missed out on a great album. If you somehow managed to miss Space Is Only Noise, I implore you to check it out. For me, it’s a mind-bending and genre-blending experience.

So now, months after releasing one of my favorite albums of this year, Nicolas Jaar has put out this EP, Don’t Break My Love. And these eleven minutes, my friends, are bliss. Jaar has taken the best aspects of his debut album and condensed them into two fantastic songs.

The first thing that strikes me about these tracks is they just sound like another world. It’s a world of open spaces. There’s no color here; there are only shades of gray. Every sound is quiet, every texture is soothing. The music evolves slowly, but still manages to surprise.

On the title track, record static and distant hand claps start things off slow. I would say the track isn’t even moving. The introduction is merely a display of the atmosphere the oncoming song will thrive in. Icy keyboards slither in, and there’s this sound that pops up occasionally that kinda reminds me of crumpling paper, but swirled around somehow. See, this is why I love Jaar’s music. It’s loaded with sounds that are, well, kinda inexplicable.

A haunting male vocal appears and the beat begins. By this point, the groove is in full swing, but Jaar is subtly adding more percussion to the mixture. The voices grow louder and the synths swell. But a bass drone eventually comes into the picture and the entire song disintegrates. Disintegrates!

Surprisingly, the hook to this song is stashed away at the very end. It’s packing a female vocal sample and hits my hips harder than it does my head. The bassline sounds like it’s straight out of a dub reggae tune; displaying just how many influences go into this man’s sound. The ending is tight and goes off without a hitch.

The next track, “Why Didn’t You Save Me,” is just as pleasurable. But I do wish it took a bit more time with introductions. Still, its percussion, for me, is to die for. It’s like an electronic drum circle supported by a wide array of nicely varied percussive sounds. The grooves getting pumped out are ever-changing and do so with finesse.

The manipulated falsetto vocal–which may be a female’s, not sure–haunts my soul. Then it makes me question the existence of souls in the process. Plus, the harpsichord that drops in around the 2-minute mark is enchanting. Yeah, enchanting! Yet, I find this song to be kind of creepy.

This song, like the previous one, saves its best percussion and bassline for the end. Yeah, it’s becoming a tried and true formula for Jaar, but I don’t mind hearing it again, personally–especially if it’s going to be executed with sounds this stark.

I think I’ve learned more about this dude’s trajectory as a musician by listening to these two tracks, and I’ve loved the experience. Jaar’s music does so much for me. I think it’s amazing how he builds songs with such unlikely combinations of sounds. Yet, everything seems to flow so nicely. Every moment moves slowly, but nothing ever drags on or stagnates. Listening to these tracks on the surface is just as invigorating as diving into their details. It’s music that’s both intoxicating and enlightening.

I see myself returning to these tracks with the same frequency I do Space Is Only Noise. Plus, they get me looking forward to Jaar’s future.

Decent 9

What do you think of this EP? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should I review next? How does it measure up to Space Is Only Noise? Are you excited about where Jaar is going as a producer?


Stream: Nicolas Jaar- Don’t Break My Love EP

  • Cassidy Philippe

    Reading this review, I’m getting pretty exited to listen to the EP since your THAT amazed about this! Enjoyed the hell out of Space Is Only Noise, I found it to be exciting and kind of hypnotic!

  • Cthewren

    Thanks for turning me on to Jaar, copped Space Is Only Noise on vinyl and have been enjoying it since. Keep up the good work sir.

  • Misaelpb

    It really IS enchanting, it creates such a great atmosphere to get easily lost at. I only wish they’d last longer.

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic artist, he is.

    I have his latest albums and EP’s in my playlist and every time Jaar kicks in, he changes the atmosphere in my office. The world around me, with all its properties and conditions, alters. Phone calls and emails queue up until the song is over. Coffee tastes sweeter. The outside world with all of its brutal noises and violent distractions, disappears. Priorities shift. Tasks become less urgent.

    It’s like you put in your review: his music seems to come from another world. It’s a place with superior, unheard of, technology and with Oompa-loompas. His music is a vessel to bring you there.

    I loved “Space Is Only Noise” and it’s by far my favourite album this year. I don’t think these two songs are an addendum to “Space”. They indicate a slightly different direction on his next album. Could be me, but I have the impression he’s gradually smuggling more vocals into his work.
    Anyway, I can’t wait for it.

  • Dominic Longden

    Woah. This is too amazing.

  • Kees Teeuwen

    Same AOTY. Nice.

  • Kees Teeuwen

    The songs on this EP sound busier. Space is Only Noise used a lot more silent breaks during tracks. The ending of Don’t Break My Love takes me back to the first album. Sweet vocals, deep and dark bass, humming. Why Didn’t You Save Me is new to the ears. Complex percussions in the intro, a nice break in the middle, building up to a glorious ending. Love both tracks and leave me wanting MOAR!

  • Jaffa Hula

    This is really great. It’s like he does something with time – draws it out, makes it do what he wants.

    Could you review Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow when it comes out please?

    Keep it up!

  • Anonymous

    The Fall have put out another good, if not great, album – you might wanna check that out. One song, “I’ve seen them come”, reminds me of early Killing Joke and “Greenway” is a metal song (has to be heard to be believed!).

  • ps

    Review This. Eligh & Amp Live – Therapy At 3 Hip hop at finest shape

  • Quamen

    If you haven’t checked it out yet, listen to his insane remix of Always By your side (Big) ;)

  • Dominic Longden

    If I could have an album of this…

  • Ronan

    Did you listen to his Inès compilation? You should review it. Some tracks are beatless. If you want more Space Is Only Noise and you think an EP is not enough then Inès is for you.