My New Obsession: Nicolas Jaar

As anyone who has walked past my room in that past month knows, Bunnies has found a new favorite artist. I have strayed from Rihanna and Gaga for a brief spell because arguments over the value of pop culture have left me feeling confused and in need of a mental break from forcing meaning onto what is probably a meaningless moneymaking venture. I, most of all, want to believe that Rihanna herself is trying to mold the gender dynamics of the US into a more femme-friendly land of equality––but I imagine that the 200 people in charge of her image have more of a say in the matter than she does. Hopefully I can relocate my optimism, but for now I will present you with some videos that are objectively good.

One simply can’t force greatness of Nicolas Jaar. Born in NYC, he moved to his father’s hometown in Chile when he was two. When he was eight he moved back to New York, but was always influenced by Chilean music and culture. He began experimenting  with electronic music in his early teens, and in 2009 started a record label of his own, called Clown and Sunset. The wiki article says of his jamz:

Jaar’s music is ruminative and emotional (he calls it “blue-wave”), drawing inspiration from fellow-Chilean Ricardo Villalobos and minimal techno. Most of Jaar’s compositions reside at 100 BPM or lower, far lower than the techno/house standards of 120-130 BPM. “I’m going to keep taking the beats even slower,” he says in an interview with Resident Advisor[2], “More unintentional things happen between the beats.”

He is currently studying comparative literature at Brown University, and is probably making BANK while getting a great education with Hermione. They would be perfect together, I think. Maybe I love Nico (as he calls himself on his website), or maybe I’m just getting into minimal techno, but his music has definitely helped me through this tough winter (lolz), or rather, this tough thesis semester. Below are a few of my favorite songs. Enjoy!

 

Nicolas Jaar – With Just One Glance (ft. Scout LaRue)

Factoid: Scout is the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. I wonder if she goes to Brown too!? I definitely missed out on all the famous people by coming to Amherst. This was the first song of Jaar’s that I heard. I love the jazz instrumentation, Scout’s sultry voice, and the lyrics of the song. There is something a little bit creepy about the woman with the lion’s mane (or something a little too Ke$ha?), the ungendered “other” with shining hair covered in dirt. Garden of Eden anyone? I also love the comeback beat in the last 20 seconds. Such sass.

 

Nicolas Jaar – Time for Us

A beautiful, sexy song.

 

Nicolas Jaar – El Bandido

With a full two minutes of instrumental intro, “El Bandido” stretches the electronic genre by adding vocals as another layer of sound. Though not a traditional workout song, I could see this track as a definite companion for any long-distance runner.

 

Nicolas Jaar – Don’t Break My Love

“Don’t Break My Love” is definitely my favorite of Jaar’s tracks so far. Like most of his beats this one is also pretty slow, and allows the “space” between beats to be taken over by awesome sound effects––sometimes a thunder peal, sometimes a high hat, and sometimes some vocal action. The vocals come in full force at the 5:00 mark, and the last minute and a half of the song is pure sex. I am usually one to interpretive dance at whim, but this track requires some dedicated choreography to make its art come alive.

 

* Feature image from Joel at thatsmyjamradio.wordpress.com.