Nicolas Jaar Sirens Other People
Since his head-turning debut album Space is Only Noise in 2011, Nicolas Jaar has put his name to a lot of different music: partnering with Dave Harrington as Darkside, producing sleek club tracks (last year’s slinky Fight on R&S), curating soundtracks (Pomegranates) and releasing various avant-garde offerings via his label Other People.
It’s an impressive body of work, but still, it’s been half a decade since Jaar released a full-length solo album. And so even amongst this plethora of music, Sirens feels like an important milestone; a way of gauging how far this prodigious and prolific Chilean composer and producer has come since Space is Only Noise blew people’s minds with its combination of dark, dappled rhythms and otherworldly melodies.
Sirens opener Killing Time continues pretty much exactly where Space… left off: Jaar’s delicate and ghostly falsetto settling into the sinews of an aquatic melody, and shuffling percussion. Next up is a slightly jarring change of pace: The Governor. With an almost gonzo take on a bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll riff at its centre, the track evolves into more familiar territory (squawking saxophones and a dislocated piano melody) but is a slight misfire in an album that is otherwise consistently, challengingly excellent. The simple vocal repetition on No floats ethereally across a gentle, spectral dub under-belly, and the unsettling, looming Three Sides of Nazareth is not a million miles away from a cautious, careful Zomby composition. Sirens is another exemplary album from an artist with a depth, maturity and prolific back-catalogue that confirms Jaar, at the age of 26, has established himself as a significant figure in the world of experimental electronic music.