Nicolas Jaar may count on New York as his birthplace but it is Santiago, Chile where he spent his formative years. Upon his return to NYC, he released an electronica EP at the age of seventeen and three years later he has developed his first album. ‘Space Is Only Noise’ takes the less is more approach favoured by many of Jaar’s contemporaries but his influences are far more cosmopolitan than most.
The album starts in unassuming fashion as minimalist piano and childrens’ laughter characterise the moody ‘Être’. Clearly this is going to be a record which rewards the patient listener; dipping in to jazz and classical territory as much as it does electronica, whilst it’s underscored by the lonely ambience of reggae and blues records.
Just when Jaar seems to drift in to high-class background music, the eerie dub-inflected ‘Too Many Kids Finding Rain In The Dust’ appears, immediately followed by a deliciously dark ‘Keep Me There’ which meanders in to all kind of interesting detours. The title track, meanwhile, is repeated like a mantra over squelching synths in a manner reminiscent of Canadian artist Circlesquare.
Such are the numbers of minmalist artists out there now, it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish one from another. This is not a problem for Jaar who has crafted an original work which contains enough variety to maintain interest from beginning to end.