Nicolas Jaar
Space Is Only Noise


4.0
excellent

Review

by barnsgwj USER (9 Reviews)
April 13th, 2011 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Do you like the idea of a David Lynch film in music form combined with a bit of Satre? Come here then!

Even though David Lynch has recently taken to producing electronic music it is the Chilean from New York, Nicolas Jaar, who seems to best replicate the surrealism and existential angst that Lynch has so successfully created in his movies. ‘Space is only noise’ is an excellent album that from its beginning with ‘Etre’ to its ending in ‘^tre’ immerses you in a strange, dreamlike haze that is strangely addictive and disturbing. The typical Jaar sound – an atmospheric hybrid of downtempo, jazz and house – is draped with post-dubstep baselines and glitched beats with a hazy reverb that all amounts to what is an irresistibly cool yet unsettling sound.

Jaar expertly draws upon the mundane in creating this effect, using wave samples and chattering children to create that distant feeling that you often seem to get when you’re ill – normality made foreign and distinct to the distorted reality of your muffled state of mind. Playfulness and creativity with different instruments, ideas and sounds is a compliment paid to many musicians; Jaar does this while also playing with the mind of the listener, unsettling us and taking us into a state of blissful bewilderment.

The suave nattering of French, the funky bass and Jaar’s incredibly low voice all add to the mystique of the album. His vocal effects echo those of James Blake but he uses them more sparingly than Blake and because of this his voice has a greater effect in the songs in which it is used. His voice contributes an unmistakeable coolness to songs such as ‘Too many kids finding rain in the dust’ and ‘Keep me there’ (one of the sexiest songs of recent years). It is this coolness, along with the greater depth to the motives that he employs, which distinguishes him from Blake, with whom he will undoubtedly find many comparisons due to their shared minimalist approach.

With the song ‘Specters of the future’ he earns comparisons to Mount Kimbie with the funky drum beat and distorted vocal samples complimenting the jazzy piano that runs through the album. He also earns comparisons with trip hop artists such as Massive Attack with mind engulfing songs such as ‘Variations’ and ‘Space is only noise if you can see’. Although he evokes thoughts of such artists, his music is unique in the way that it gets under the skin and sends an unnerving chill through the body. Few artists have done this to such the extent that Jaar has – Burial is one of only a few that spring to mind.

The album is therefore immensely intriguing in that is uses a wide variety of styles and it creates a futuristically haunting sound – it is not difficult to imagine it being set to some sort of haunting sci-fi dystopia film directed by perhaps...David Lynch. Like the films of Lynch the major criticism that can be said about ‘Space is only noise’ is that it is not the most accessible piece – it is not the easiest listen but it is certainly challenging. It is perhaps for this reason that Blake will have a wider effect than Jaar – while Blake’s sound is accessible and relatively easy to listen to, Jaar’s album is disturbing and challenging. And yet, as fans of Lynch films will testify, this is its brilliance.



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user ratings (260)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Justin Swope (4.5)
Space Is Only Noise is a modest and natural sounding album with a fantastic mixture of field recordi...

Ryan Fitz (5)
A tour de force with few modern equals...

Beram C. Lansay (5)
Space Is Only Noise: A 2011 Odyssey....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
letsgofishing
April 13th 2011


902 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Damn Solid review. I would possibly consider mentioning Eraserhead or another one of David Lynch's works in the
review, just so the people unfamiliar to him can more easily relate to the concept. Because honestly, I can see the
first reaction of some (clueless) people being "who is David Lynch?" But I loved the direction you took with this..and
well everything else. Really great write. POS'D

Edit: Juxtaposing this with your other 8 reviews, it's pretty easy to see that you're a talented writer, but A) your
positive reviews tend to be pretty biased (Radiohead and Foo Fighters for specifics) and b) you're inconsistent as all
hell..which seems to suggest that you generally rush these reviews out. Seriously, take your time with one review,
take it through revisions, make love to it, and then post it.

I'm pleased to have you on the site though, and don't worry about today, we won't hold it against ya.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2011


31215 Comments


And even more post dubstep

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

letsgofishing
April 13th 2011


902 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-dubstep

If it's on wikipedia, it must be true :P

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2011


15040 Comments


i think i got a woman and colomb are my favorites

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011


31215 Comments


As well as taking cues from earlier dubstep productions as well as UK Garage post-dubstep often noticeably encompasses elements of ambient music[citation needed]), IDM[citation needed]) and early 2000s R&B which in particular is heavily sampled by two of the genre's pioneers, Mount Kimbie and James Blake.


Pretty sure Untrue has ambient in it, oh well........

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011


31215 Comments


And to argue another point (and yes, I'm ripping holes in a wiki entry but I am perplexed by the type of people who actually write this kind of stuff):

As well as taking cues from earlier dubstep productions as well as UK Garage


Half of dubstep is garage anyway

barnsgwj
April 14th 2011


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To be fair, I also find the whole post dubstep term quite hollow. But at the same time, its useful as a way of grouping some people who are doing similar things at the moment.

Maybe it would be better if they just called it 2011 garage or something like that.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011


31215 Comments


Or they could just not be stupid and call it dubstep, It's not useful in the slightest to group a bunch or artists into an imaginary genre

barnsgwj
April 14th 2011


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but its not useful to put them into dubstep when their music isn't really dubstep.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011


31215 Comments


What is dubstep?

barnsgwj
April 14th 2011


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha, well not even the dubstep producers know how to define it do they?
its usually something to do with 140 bpm and an emphasis on bass noting influences from garage and drum n bass. That's what I've come to view it as.

Post dubstep, which, like you, I find a difficult term, is I think used to describe the first people to be doing something that isn't dubstep but is influenced but it.

I understand why you find it a weird perhaps pointless term but some people seem to be using and the audiences to which I have written before joining sputnik seem to be able identify it with what I currently (loosely) understand it to be.

Nonetheless, I agree, it is an unnecessary term which I've already said earlier in this thread and pitchfork likes it a bit too much.

telebyrd
April 14th 2011


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Keep Me There brings to mind someone walking very slow, back and forth, with his eyes looking off in two opposite directions

darnielle
April 14th 2011


221 Comments


Colomb is nice

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011


31215 Comments


haha, well not even the dubstep producers know how to define it do they?


I doubt they bother

its usually something to do with 140 bpm and an emphasis on bass noting influences from garage and drum n bass. That's what I've come to view it as.


There's no drum & bass involved, the only artist who really adds in any kind of d&b aesthetic into his dubstep is Reso


Post dubstep, which, like you, I find a difficult term, is I think used to describe the first people to be doing something that isn't dubstep but is influenced but it.


It's not influenced by it, it's merely taking the genre into new territory and expanding on it. That doesn't mean a prefix needs to be added on or that it has become something else. Dubstep was borne out of the fusion of various sounds, it's only natural that it would start to mimic its creation

Nonetheless, I agree, it is an unnecessary term which I've already said earlier in this thread and pitchfork likes it a bit too much.


And yet you've used it in most of your reviews



barnsgwj
April 14th 2011


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is getting a bit intense, and it seems you're trying to make it a bit of a vendetta now, but I'll continue to discuss anyway as it is interesting to reflect on on this as a way of looking at how people use and create genres generally.

The drum & bass point is interesting for many drum & bass producers are moving into dubstep and have applied their own styles onto it which continues the taking the genre into new territory that you noted i.e. Chase and Status, Subfocus and Nero.

The not needing a prefix is a fair point and it reflects a tendency among people to over categorize and perhaps I too do this, I'll admit.

Yet at the same time, the term is used so there is presumably something behind that, even if it is not required.

As far as most of my reviews, 3 out of 9 is not most, but if it insults you so gravely, I'll try to cut down on it!





Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2011


31215 Comments



This is getting a bit intense, and it seems you're trying to make it a bit of a vendetta now, but I'll continue to discuss anyway as it is interesting to reflect on on this as a way of looking at how people use and create genres generally.


Not at all, but I guess when there's no obvious tone I can see how it might seem that way

The drum & bass point is interesting for many drum & bass producers are moving into dubstep and have applied their own styles onto it which continues the taking the genre into new territory that you noted i.e. Chase and Status, Subfocus and Nero.


Yes, but those are drum and bass artists making dubstep tracks, that doesn't mean there's drum & bass in dubstep


Yet at the same time, the term is used so there is presumably something behind that, even if it is not required.


Yes, but I could create a genre name in 2 seconds if I wanted too. The power of the internet allows me to convince others it's legit, and Pitchfork while always doing their best to remain hip will jump on these blog genres like there's no tomorrow

As far as most of my reviews, 3 out of 9 is not most, but if it insults you so gravely, I'll try to cut down on it!


Well obviously not every review, but I think all of your electronic ones!





barnsgwj
April 14th 2011


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, while I'd still maintain that there's is some drum and bass influence in dubstep, I agree with those points.

I also tend to agree with pitchfork scepticism though its not as bad as some might say.



natey
December 11th 2011


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Or they could just not be stupid and call it dubstep, It's not useful in the slightest to group a bunch or artists into an imaginary genre

reasons it's useful: promoting related artists helping interested people discover them

genres don't exist except outside the imagination except to deluded megalomaniacs



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