College does not always look good on everyone. The ever so present pressure to create something special, to transform oneself, and to be above average brilliant can often times shatter one’s dreams. However, Nicolas Jaar somehow managed to do all of the above with effortless style and genius poise while studying Comparative Literature at Brown University. He started his own record label and art house, remixed an array of intriguing electronic tracks, defied musical genres, and performed at major festivals all over the world before graduating. He’s now the catalyst for a new wave of slow beats, pushing for emotional resonance over speed and exploring the club scene on a conceptual level. Yes, the guy is an intellectual inside and out.
If you’d like to stop time for a little bit, you’re in luck. Production mastermind Nicolas Jaar commemorated the 33rd anniversary of John Lennon’s death yesterday with an hour-long podcast. Kicking off with samples of an interview with the Beatles legend and the announcement of his death, the mix builds into a striking early winter atmosphere. (Not to ruin the surprise, but apparently electronic prodigies are as fascinated by Walmart fights as the rest of us peons.)
The podcast was released as part of Jaar’s subscription-based label Other People, but you can download it for free on SoundCloud. Check it out below and catch up on BlackBook’s recent interview with Jaar on his new album with Darkside.
This week is weird for everyone, right? Daylight Savings Time threw everything off by one cursed hour and Mercury’s still in retrograde. I knew I would get sick if I stayed up past my bedtime to go to M.I.A.’s release party, so naturally I’m on my third day of gently hacking up a lung. (It was totally worth it, though.) These are the jams, even if you’re not popping DayQuil every four hours.
Botany ft. Father John Misty – “Laughtrack”
Botany might not seem like the most obvious moniker for an electronic producer, but Spencer Stephenson poses a serious challenge for anyone who thinks the genre can’t sound warm and organic. The Texan artist just released his first record, Lava Diviner (Truestory), but he has plenty more up his sleeve. On this non-album track, Father John Misty’s soft vocals feature over a beat that’s heavy and bubbly at the same time. Lava Diviner (Truestory) is out now on Western Vinyl.
Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute” (Nicolas Jaar remix)
Indie rock heavyweights Grizzly Bear are gearing up to put out the deluxe edition of their fourth album Shields. This stretched-out version of “Sleeping Ute” has been around since being issued as a limited 12” for Record Store Day earlier this year, but it’ll be making another appearance as a bonus track alongside other remixes and previously unreleased B-sides. If I get hit by a car this weekend because I can’t move my sorry feet fast enough, play this at my funeral. Shields Expanded is out November 12 on Warp.
Kitty – “Second Life”
Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde) is tired of playing the waiting game with her upcoming LP, so she’s shared “Second Life” in advance. The internet rap princess has her head in the clouds as she rhymes over a cotton candy-flavored beat courtesy of Anamanaguchi and PinkiePieSwear. The result is soft as snow, but warm inside. Look out for the albumFlowerviolence whenever the people in charge are ready to put it out.
Moonface – “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark”
While former Wolf Parade bandmate Dan Boechner has been rocking out with Britt Daniel as part of Divine Fits, Spencer Krug has moved on to making pared-down piano fare under the name Moonface. This is his simplest project yet, but the effect is still bold and totally arresting. The album Julia With Blue Jeans On is out now on Jagjaguwar.
Air – “Playground Love”
This is undoubtedly one of the most soothing songs ever committed to record. The French duo’s soundtrack to The Virgin Suicides is legendary, and “Playground Love” is a big reason why. The sax and synths woven together are enough to make anyone a hopeless romantic, and the whole package is a cocoon-like tribute to doomed youth.
Nicolas Jaar has always been described as a wunderkind—a brilliantly talented and eclectic old soul lurking inside the body of a Brown student whose cultivated sound stemmed from a wealth of influences to create something entirely unique. But Jaar is no longer a kid, and since graduating has continued to hone his craft and perfect his experimental and intricate sound with fellow schoolmate Dave Harrington to form Darkside—a complex and dark exploration into the musical depths lying just beyond their subconscious. Since he first began releases BBC mixes, we’re been keeping a close eye on Jaar’s evolution as an artist, his collaborations, and the delicate care in which he takes in making music that only gets better with time.
Anticipation continues to build for Nicolas Jaar’s Darkside with the new track "Paper Trails." Alongside guitarist Dave Harrington, the trailblazing producer is ready to unveil his twisted take on dance rock.
Announced last month, sonic wunderkind Nicolas Jaar teamed up with Dave Harrington to release a new album under the name Darkside. They gifted us with the 11 minutes and 20 seconds of their new electronic record that explores the sounds resting between moments and hanging in the vacant space of sahdows, but today have began unraveling the details. Titled Psychic, the album is to debut on October 8 via Jaar’s new label Other People. Speaking to the themes explored in his work, Jaar told The Avant/Garde Diaries:
There are themes I’ve been really obsessed with in the past year that I’m trying to comprehend through my music. The first theme is noise. It’s very obvious for our time, but I just can’t get away from it. And there are a lot of layers to the idea of noise. I think for the past ten or fifteen years gadgets have excited us. But in the last few years, I started getting very grossed out by technology for the first time. I wanted to get away from it. There is a sort of insanity about being connected. Anyway, what started slowly taking shape in my mind was this idea of broken technology. That’s what noise then became to me. What does a broken computer sound like? What does a broken anything sound like? Usually you end up with clicks and actual pink or white noise. You end up with static and dial-up tones. I think we’ve seen a lot of music that deals with these ideas of technological noise. We’re all trying to get away from noise, and yet we’re getting this immense amount of pleasure from the amount of noise we can have at any given moment.…I would love to purge all of these bad, noisy things, and go back to a place where I just wanted to talk to you about clouds and birds and water and love. I’ve worked very hard to purge. I hope this is an exorcism. I hope it’s a good sounding one. I hope the screams are good. But I do hope it’s a balance. I hope you go towards the heavens, and then you’re just bored of it so you go towards hell, and back to the heavens. I hope the truth isn’t that youth is a heavenly place and life slowly brings you to hell. I hope it’s more of a beautiful balance where you have to go between one and the other.…I’m interested in space and what happens between sounds just as much. I don’t think that will change. I wake up in the morning to make everything besides the actual “hits.” The sounds that are not the piano are what interest me in the first place. The space itself inspires me and everything else comes after. It’s more interesting to create a space and then say what happens in this space? Then you have a storyline to work with. The thing that has changed is the process. Before it was simpler. I thought one sound could be changed by another sound I put behind it. I don’t believe in that anymore. I want to put the sounds through the pain of the process. It’s all a little darker, I guess. I like that the sound goes through an actual physical process that is more similar to the process we go through as human beings. The scariest part of thinking about concepts like noise and interference and too much information, is that I can’t stand them. When you make music about these concepts and you put sound though this inevitable process that you hate, you create something that is inherently very ugly. This music I’ve been making in the past year or so is not music that you can listen to and just say this is beautiful. In a way I wish it was, but I’m also trying to be true to myself and true to these ideas.
04 Paper Trails
05 The Only Shrine I’ve Seen
06 Freak, Go Home
07 Greek Light
Whenever I hear Daft Punk’s first single off Random Access Memories, the heavy swaying delight "Get Lucky," my mind travels to waves breaking on the shore. It’s sunset on a summer’s night, I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a bikini, a mai-tai sits cooly in my hands and everything feels a bit hazy and oh, so wonderful.
But now, even before Daft Punk has had the chance to release remixes of their new album, sonic wunderkind Nicolas Jaar has taken it upon himself to create a remixed version of RAM—in full. He and Dave Harrington, better known as Darkside have given us a refurbished and altered version of the album that puts Daft Punk’s beats on simmer and makes us want to trade in our toes in the sand for some giant Iris-esque wedges and saunter down sticky city streets.
Take a listen below.
Today, Pitchfork added the final batch of bands to its 2012 music festival lineup, well ahead of the July 13-15 weekend where the excitement will go down in Chicago’s Union Park: Beach House, Wild Flag, Real Estate, Atlas Sound, Big K.R.I.T., Nicolas Jaar, Cults, Chavez, Ty Segall, Oneohtrix Point Never, Youth Lagoon, Thee Oh Sees, King Krule, Lotus Plaza, Dirty Beaches, Lower Dens, Milk Music, the Psychic Paramount, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Outer Minds, and A Lull. The festival might not ever be as fun as the year when they sold Sparks at the beer tents, but sometimes life forces you to make sacrifices for sanity’s sake. You can look at the final lineup, which is looking pretty healthy, after the click.
Pitchfork, in my opinion, is the best deal in national music festivals. For the cost of a one-way plane ticket, you get to see dozens of relevant, high quality bands at varying points in their life cycle: buzz acts finding their live presence, indie veterans who’ve settled into a comfortable set list, and the random top-shelf name brand gifted with a headlining set for a crowd that’s absolutely reveretial of their presence. And the people watching! The people watching is absolutely superb. Three-day passes are sold out, though you can still purchase individual one-day tickets if that weekend is still looking free on your schedule.
Friday, July 13:
Willis Earl Beal
The Olivia Tremor Control
Saturday, July 14:
The Atlas Moth
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
The Psychic Paramount
Sunday, July 15:
Thee Oh Sees
Oneohtrix Point Never
Unknown Mortal Orchestra