Throughout an excellent debut LP and a handful of stellar EPs, Nicolas Jaar has proven himself worthy in a number of roles throughout the past few years: a producer with fine attention to detail, a justifiably patient songwriter, and a seductive singer. His skills extend to a live context as well, revealing him to be a coherent and focused DJ. This particular talent manifests itself in this set Jaar recently performed in NYC for Boiler Room, which marks the first time he has contributed to the established underground music show.
Over the course of the set’s 45 minutes, Jaar pulls together a series of minimal yet hypnotic microhouse grooves which are peppered with interjections from static-infused radio samples. Especially admirable is the way he never loses sight of his aesthetic, maintaining the smooth and seductive vibe which defines his studio material. A subtle approach to the tension-and-release technique also proves rewarding, with Jaar refusing to allow the bass to remain prominent for extended stretches of time, which allows for a stimulating sense of dynamic. The set is consistently understated, but also passionate and vitalizing, hopping from idea to idea with enlivening finesse.
Check a review of Jaar’s Space Is Only Noise below:
An unofficial music video for the Nicolas Jaar track, “Materials.” Despite a formal linkage to the material created by one of the most creative electronic music producers out there right now, the video is incredibly intriguing and surreal. Kudos to the director, Pondr.
New track from electronic music producer Nicolas Jaar that’s absolutely seductive. It features vocals from Scout LaRue, and guess who she’s related to.
I guess that’s an interesting little factoid, but what’s more stunning about this track are the blaring saxophone solos, adding to the almost unbearable heat of this track. The beat grooves subtly, which is a great quality found in most Jaar tracks, and there’s lots of piano embellishments and keyboard soundscapes all over the place. Loving it.
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.
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?
Seems electronic music producer Nicolas Jaar is following up one of my favorite albums of this year with a new EP titled Don’t Break My Love.
As to be expected, Jaar takes his time building and developing these songs. The quiet, understated beginnings always bring out some tension in me, but the payoff toward the end is always worth it–especially on the title track.
Download this EP through the widget above, and make sure to hit up Jaar’s record label, Clown & Sunset.
Some of them, like “Hey Boy,” get pretty hypnotic in their execution. Nico just has a funny way of turning electronics into a dark and mesmerizing experience.
If you’re yet to catch TND’s review of Nicolas Jaar’s new album, do it up.
Sonically, Valentin Stip has a lot in common with Nicolas Jaar’s latest album, Space Is Only Noise. But I’m not connecting or comparing these two for the sake of calling one a ripoff. I’d actually like to argue these two–and many other artists as well–are defining a style of electronic music that incorporates both acoustic and electronic sounds executed in a bleak or even ambient style.
What do you think of this track? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should I review next, too? Thanks for listening, and thanks for being awesome.
Review: Valentin Stip- “Esquis(e)”
Stream: Valentin Stip- “Esquis(e)”
Valentin Stip’s debut EP, which is out now via World and Sound, is a small look into the head of this French-born electronic music producer. Many of the sounds and timbres here sound very tangible and acoustic, but the emotions are cold and nearly lifeless–I mean that in the best way possible, of course. The moods on Anytime Will Do are as relaxing as they are dark; much like an introspective, tell-all session with a therapist might be.
I would liken the music here to that on Space Is Only Noise, the latest album from Nicolas Jaar, but maybe that’s too obvious of a comparison. Not only do Nico and Val share similar ears for samples, but this new EP is actually on a new label Nico started.
I loved Space Is Only Noise, so if this label is going to be catering artists with a similar flair, I’m not complaining. Here’s some cover art for ya: