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November: 18 albums you need to hear this month

Pangaea, Romare, Mandar and more

  • Mixmag Staff
  • 4 November 2016

Album of the month

Nicolas Jaar 'Sirens' (Other People)

Mystifyingly, Nicolas Jaar is looked on with suspicion in some quarters: some people are confused that a man who can create cavernous dancefloor epics is also on a quest to experiment, manifesting itself in work that’s brittle, emotionally charged and rich with nuance. Since his 2011 debut album ‘Space Is Only Noise’, the Chilean has collaborated in spacey synth-rock duo DARKSIDE and released a movie soundtrack LP (the film it was created for, Dheepan by director Jacques Audiard, went on to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2015). He also recently put out a series of lavish techno EPs on R&S, too, suggesting that Jaar’s only problem might be that he’s too damn clever. In which case, armed with his new album ‘Sirens’ as further evidence, it’s about time any naysayers got over it.

The album’s opening track, ‘Mirror’, begins with a distant rumble, one that comes ever closer and is accompanied by the smashing of glass, seamlessly leading into ‘Killing Time’. A beautiful, neo-classical ambient piece marked by glistening arpeggios, ponderous backbeat and Jaar’s faltering falsetto, it’s a mood-setter for the rest of this sprawling, passionate album. As is often the case with Jaar, curveballs are pitched: on this occasion, they’re in the form of the rock’n’roll jam-meets-avant-garde jazz of ‘The Governor’ and ‘Three Sides of Nazareth’, a throbbing, snarling Death In Vegas-style electro workout. Sandwiched in between is the gorgeous ‘No’, where Jaar croons in his native Spanish over a scratchy, twitchy Latin American-cum-dancehall rhythm. Make no mistake, it’s Jaar in microcosm: a groundbreaking artist using all the weapons at his disposal in an attempt to move you. And trust us, you will be.

9/10

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