Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
(Circus Company, 2011)
21-year-old Brown University literature student/experimental musician Nicolas Jaar is proving my theory that all albums with black-and-white covers are worth your time. At least in 2011. But he doesn’t really want you to read about it, he wants you to hear it.
If you don’t already know the story, this kid was born in 1990 (yes, 1990 is now the born-on date to legally drink the U.S.) in New York and then moved to Chile where he spent his childhood before coming back to New York in 2004 at the ripe old age of 14. He now splits his time between being a student in Rhode Island, traveling around the globe performing what so many are erroneously calling ‘dance’ music and running his own imprint. Quite a resume for someone who was nothing but a zygote when the 80’s ended.
This is electronic music, or electronically altered music, but Nicolas does play quite a few instruments as well. It’s hard to tell what is real and what is memorex, but that just helps to blur the landscape this album creates. A landscape that starts out somewhere in France, near the coast? With an American narrator? Is that a new Radiohead track in the background? Is someone choking on ping-pong balls? Should children be here? OK, the kids are gone, we have a nice chill beat, some synth and a little hand-clap…still in France, near the water, but now we are high and playing table tennis…badly. So off to Brazil we go. We head downtown where there are too many…everything. And I’m pretty sure those kids are back, they are finding rain in the dust. Duh-duh duh–duh–duh duhduhduhduh…I want to leave but the couple keep me there, seduced by a saxophone. Now that I’m back in New York , in a lounge, with a woman, it’s all good….just stop speaking French, I can not understand you. OK, I’ve gotta go now, I think I’m going blind due to problems with the sun, you’re on your own for the second half.
Space Is Only Noise is a dream. With your suspension of consciousness comes your suspension of disbelief. Have you ever had a dream where you question the reality of what is going on around you? You might even think ‘I must be dreaming‘ but you don’t try to wake yourself because you want to see how much of the ‘impossible’ you can achieve. When you do wake up, you realize how ridiculous it all was and over the next hour the dream exits your mind, leaking out bit by bit every minute until it is entirely gone. You could have the exact same dream that night and it would be brand new to you. Space Is Only Noise is that dream. It is also one of those rare albums that I can’t even come close to understanding, but can still appreciate. And with that, I’m going to adhere to Nicolas Jaar‘s wishes and quit talking about his music…