Today marks the release of Four Tet’s new record Pink, a compilation of sorts that collects all of the 12″ singles that he has released recently for his Text imprint. The album also includes two new tracks, both of which hover around 10 minutes in length and both of which are serious IDM bangers. “Lion” is a retro, house-influenced jam that recalled Aphex Twin’s first collection of so-called ambient music, while the slightly longer “Peace For Earth” is a bit dreamier and forward thinking, with some woozy, disparate synths that give way to lush pads that definitely invoke the song’s title.
Stream both tracks above via YouTube and pick up Pink via Four Tet’s website.
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?
Hey, everyone! Hope you’re well. Anthony Fantano, here. Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd. You know! Alright, it’s time for another track review. Punching them out right now, and I’m getting to talking about an artist I promised I’d lay an opinion on: Evidence.
This dude is a West Coast MC, and I’ve been conscious of this buy for a little while. A friend of mine in college turned me on to Dilated Peoples, which kinda fit my hunger for conscious hip hop at the time. However, for some reason, I didn’t really stick with these guys and Evidence like I should have, admittedly.
I was beating myself up over it a bit when I heard this dude was dropping a new album on Rhymesayers, Cats & Dogs. I was pretty ticked I hadn’t been keeping up on him, but I’ve gotta admit I’m a little let down by this album now that I’m hearing it.
There was nothing really terrible on this album. I think part of my issue is that Evidence is a bit of an acquired taste. The guy has a slow, sleepy, repetitive flow. I can take a repetitive flow here and there. MF DOOM is pretty repetitive, but Evidence lacks the urgency that makes me really wanna stick with him. I know it’s semi-intentional, because Evidence even brings it up in his lyrics, but I’m still not a huge fan of it.
With Evidence, it’s a bit of an exchange game. Sure, I’m not getting a fiery flow here, this dude’s lyrics are usually pretty clever. I think the track “It Wasn’t Me” had some of my favorite lines on this album.
But I’m not too in love with them on this particular track: “Strangers.” Evidence muses about not being able to trust his friends with his weed, carrying weight, originality, and the West Coast. Evidence is not a shallow soul. I admire the fact that he’s making the music he wants to make. Not only that, he’s phenomenally consistent in his style and personality. Amen!
It’s just that there’s absolutely nothing here that really sticks with me. I never come away getting hit by any of these lines, sadly. Everything just feels, well, kinda passable. Take this line for example:
“Lately when I walk I’ve been trying to hold my posture straight, hold my chin up then feel the love from across the way.”
That’s just one of many moments that don’t do a lot for me. It’s not terrible, but not amazing me either. Sure, it’s taken out of context, and I influence you to check out the lyrics for yourself over here, because that lyric is linked to the lines that appear after it.
Between these lyrics, the DJ cuts in between the verses, and the beat itself, I can’t say much more about this track than this: It’s a hip hop song. What I mean is that it just kinda feels like a stereotypical hip hop track. The recording here is top-notch, yes, but I don’t see what’s so definitive about this.
Evidence in this very song says that nothing in this original. Sure, everybody is influenced by something, and those influences show up in the art artists create, but I wish this track did a little more to separate itself from what inspires it. Because at this point, “Strangers”–and a lotta songs on Cats & Dogs–feel, well, a little generic.
Overall, I think this is a likeable album–and like I said, I think it’s mostly me just being underwhelmed by this guy’s flow–but it’s songs like “Strangers” that kinda hold me back from really loving this thing. Songs like this just kinda breeze by for me. Still, some great features on this thing: Raekwon, Ras Kass, Slug, and Aesop Rock.
What do you think of this track? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should I review next?
Stream: Evidence- “Strangers”