Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Twenty-year-old electronic savant Nicolas Jaar wills digital biospheres to life. His compositions are humid, candle-lit bogs of dripping blips, skeletal pianos, chilly groans, and austere field recordings. If he makes “house music,” it’s downright agoraphobic. Tempos crawl at a slug’s pace. Vocal melodies gush torpid and sickly. Harrowing white space gives way to creaking stairwells, rustling papers, and lit matches. Jaar told Resident Advisor that his music was intended to “create this thing that is like a rhythmic anguish”; his debut album, Space Is Only Noise (out February 21 via Circus Company) is, appropriately, a Lynchian revision of electronic music’s possibilities — pure anathema to chillwave escapists. Jaar is lauded for his eclectic palatte of influences: the free-form fantastic planets of Ricardo Villalobos, the spacious minimalism of Eric Satie, the rollicking Ethio-jazz of Mulatu Astatke. The sleepy-eyed “Keep Me There” murkily floats through glitch crackle, wounded dub limp, and mournful jazz wail . . . so what inspired it, exactly? “I made it at the Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. The space is really creepy and dark when you’re alone in there,” says Jaar. “It’s probably that and the headless rats our cat was hiding around the house.”
What is “Keep Me There” about?
I’m not sure what I was thinking at the moment, but if the title is any indication then it’s probably about a girl.
What can you tell me about recording the vocals for this one?
It’s my voice — no effects. Just a bad microphone and a terrible room for recording.
How did you record that little lit-match sound at around the one-minute mark?
Just recorded it . . . my friend was smoking a lot at the time and was using these really long matches that I found fun.
What is the most memorable show you’ve ever played in New York?
Probably some of the early Marcy gigs. My live set had no low end. People probably waited for me to drop the bass for one hour.
What’s your favorite place to eat in NYC?
My house. My mother makes all my favorite food when I get back from a long tour.