Review Summary: Space Is Only Noise: A 2011 Odyssey.
Outer space, a vast black sea; the idea of it tantalizes the comfortable complacency in which we all reside. It is so massive that the physicists of our world can only speculate as to how large the universe actually is. Some believe it spans forever, an infinite amount of dust and darkness. Others say it is about 150 billion light years across. Even if this is the case, it would take light 150 billion years to traverse this grand emptiness.
The endless fields of space are home to an unimaginable mental dissonance. The mere idea that something can never end harbors terror in the eyes of most. How can something never end? Yet, we have a parallel plane existing alongside outer space: Our mind. Deep inside the fabric of our mind reside thoughts that are equally dark, equally cold, and equally distant. Nicolas Jaar brilliantly plays out the idea that the subconscious is not so different from the celestial constructs above.
“Space Is Only Noise” is a transmission from afar; shrouded by dark matter. Traces of human characteristics can be found all throughout the album. Tracks have a combination of vocal clips, in both English and French. The track “I Got a Woman” combines the vocals of Ray Charles with mellowed out keyboards, creating a sad yet muffled feel. On the track “Space Is Only Noise If You Can See”, a heavy synthesized beat bounces along with the emotionally void lyrics “grab a calculator and fix yourself”. Chopped up samples are abruptly scattered around the tracks, giving them an oddly-familiar feel. These cold, calculated sounds caress your emotions, playing with them, and ultimately they withdraw; leaving them devoid of touch and yearning for more.
Nicolas Jaar’s electronic noises evoke feelings that reach our core. The eerie atmosphere he creates resembles that of human heart. Upon further exploration we realize that this transmission of music is simply sound waves moving through space, a relic of his passionate imagination. It is traveling through a place that does not know the concept of time; a place that is forever. We cannot help but embrace the warmth it once held, allowing it to resonate within us. “Space Is Only Noise” echoes across the eternal territory of our mind, cradling our deepest and darkest desires. This music reveals just how alone we really are amongst the boundless limits of space.