There's no doubt that Nicolas Jaar is very good at what he does. At just 30 years of age he has immaculately carved his niche of expertly crafted sound design and songwriting into the realm of experimental electronic music. His versatility never in question as he's effortlessly bounced from elevated left field dance floor cuts to cerebral ambient to bombastic glitch over his already decade long career (crazy the dude's only 30). His newest release, a two track EP with little press leading up to it, comes under the moniker Against All Logic, which garnered notoriety after the 2018 album, comprised of five years of backlogged tracks, released under the same name and gained widespread appeal as probably his most accessible music to date. The choice to release these two new tracks under A.A.L. is a puzzling one, as these are some of his most abrasive and hard-hitting tracks to date. Nonetheless, this raw and aggressive release is another reminder of the versatility of one of electronic music's most talented producer.
Jaar wastes no time, with "Illusions of Shameless Abundance" immediately kicking off with tribal, almost militaristic drums. There's a sense of urgency in this pattern, an alarm sounding, an intruder maybe. The rustling glitch elements and high frequency pitches heighten the paranoia, and deliver complimentary ear-candy to the momentous percussions. Despite these cinematic tendencies, he always finds a clever way to ground the track -- a loud writhing synth serves as an appropriate bridge to a heavy, almost dancehall like beat. Poet and No wave veteran Lydia Lunch joins the track for a chant-like refrain. It's looped monotonous delivery cuts through the repetitive industrial backing as the clever panning gives the illusion of being surrounded -- tensions filled, loud, and evocative. This feels like protest music, and I'm all here for it.
Side B's "Aluciano" starts out with a similar abrasive tone. The bombastic nature is no less at the forefront, yet the groove comes more immediate -- maybe it's simply that it took side A's 6 minute runtime to grow accustomed to this new face of the A.A.L. project. Muffled vocals listed under the feature “Estado Unido” (Likely Jaar himself) punch through the already rugged production to develop a counterpoint. The vocals are treated like merely another instrument, their fast trills growing so unnatural that it feels closer to the oscillation of a synth than a sound out of a human mouth. The track can get grating after a bit, and I'm not sure the psychedelic, almost stream of consciousness structure justifies it's length. But more than anything, the release as a whole acts as a canvas for Jaar to demonstrate his chops as sound artist and a jack of all trades and I'll never fault an artist for branching out in a new direction. Whether this was a taste of what's to come or two tracks so different that they wouldn't fit in, I'm beyond intrigued to experience the upcoming full length.