This December, Chilean-American experimental composer Nicolas Jaar will be back in Berlin at Columbiahalle, playing tracks from his latest release ‘Sirens’, just out this year in September.
Nicolas Jaar’s music exists in liminal states. He sublimates rock music into ethereal ambience. He writes songs that hang in the air and transcend conventional structure. It’s a talent that makes his music relatable in spite of its fleeting nature, because Jaar leaves enough words blank or spaces empty for you to fill them in.
This contradiction—a sort of aloof intimacy—helped make his 2011 album ‘Space Is Only Noise’ a crossover hit. Since then, Jaar’s spent time running his Other People label, playing in the band Darkside, soundtracking films and doing five-hour live sets—pretty much anything other than making a follow-up.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110945242″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
It wasn’t until ‘Nymphs II’, released last year, that things got back on track. It was a return to the Jaar of 2011, but he wasn’t 21 anymore: he’d grown out of the wunderkind reputation he’d carried with him since he debuted in 2008, at the age of 18. What was once tentative turned fully-formed and confident. Two more records of beguiling music followed, and now ‘Sirens’, easily Jaar’s best work yet.
Jaar says Sirens is part of a trilogy that includes the ‘Nymphs’ EPs and ‘Pomegranates’ (his alternate score to the 1969 avant-garde film The Color Of Pomegranates), and the three do share a drifting focus. But it’s not hard to connect ‘Sirens’ back to Jaar’s earliest work. It highlights his voice again, as well as his first love: the piano.
Jaar has described ‘Sirens’ in political terms, but the album isn’t polemical. There’s a sense of unease and violence to it, in the way that Jaar works himself into a cacophonous furor or burdens a song’s seductive sway with harsh samples. He gets a feeling across rather than a message.
That stretches to the album’s cover art, which peels off like a scratch-and-win to reveal one of his father’s works—a commentary on conceptions of the USA as “America” and how it erases Latin American identity. (Resident Advisor)
Nicolas Jaar LIVE
Friday, 9th December 2016 | 20:00 CET
Columbia Halle | Columbiadamm 13-21 | 10965 Berlin/Tempelhof