By Mike Madden | March 1st, 2011
Nicolas Jaar is something of a wunderkind. At only 21 years old, the New York-based producer has garnered a healthy serving of hype by touring internationally and releasing a string of successful EPs, singles and remixes. Though he’s commonly associated with dance subgenres like deep house and minimal techno, Jaar is an artist who I’d like to avoid classifying too specifically simply because of the overall strangeness that constitutes his music.
Jaar’s debut full-length, Space Is Only Noise, mostly sounds like the implications of its title: atmospheric, mysterious, and sparse. A multitude of interesting sounds and styles are shuffled in and out of the mix here, including Jaar’s own baritone vocals, downtempo kick-clap drum patterns, and ethereal piano passages. Right from the get-go on opener “Être 1” – where splashing water, eerie keys and odd bubbly noises lay beneath sampled French film dialog – you’ll know you’re in for something different.
Spotty debut albums are fairly common among hyped young artists, but Jaar certainly brought his A-game here. Though a few tracks especially caught my ear, like “Keep Me There” and the title track, Space is an exceptionally balanced and cohesive album that deserves at least one continuous, uninterrupted listen. Don’t be surprised when it appears near the top of several “Greatest Electronic Albums” lists at the end of 2011.