Published on February 7th, 2012 | by Boots0
Nicolas Jaar at Music Hall of Williamsburg and MoMA PS1 [2.3.12 / 2.5.12]
Nicolas Jaar played two shows in New York City this weekend. Music Hall of Williamsburg and MoMA PS1 both hosted the artist on February 3rd and 5th respectively. Both shows featured extensive visual displays that added to the sense that each show was about more than just the fabulous musical soundscape he put forth.
Friday night’s show at Music Hall of Williamsburg featured Nicolas Jaar performing and building off his latest album “Space is Only Noise.” Every piece of the show felt immaculately planned out from the slow, deep ascent in the introduction to the stimulating video beaming behind Nicolas as he performed. He played simple organic sounds that layered on each other as well as deeper tribal bass infused beats. He dropped latin feeling hip-hop beats causing the crowd to errupt in movement and then could slow it down with classical sounding bits. Nicolas was not afraid to drop the dirty sounding electrodub beats filled with bass, however he was somewhat conservative in how often he chose to let those beats go, choosing to build up each song carefully and slowly. When he did, the crowd ate it up and and ground their hips into the floor and every other direction.
Nicolas DJ’d from his computer and also played from the keyboard, hips swinging to the beat the entire time. He was also accompanied by guitarist Dave Harrington, saxophonist Will Epstein, and vocalist Sasha Spielberg for a few dreamy songs. Nicolas Jaar directed all on stage, his focus on nothing but the music being produced. The full band out on stage was by far the most memorable period of the night, especially listening to the guitarist wail out high bluesy chords that bent in every way and direction.
On Sunday afternoon, Nicolas Jaar performed at MoMA’s PS1 in Queens. The show was far more experimental. He DJ’d from his laptop, building layers of loops on each other. The show also featured collaborators from the Friday night show as well as a movement piece by Lizzie Feidelson and video visuals by Ryan Staake.
He barely dropped the same clubby beats as he did on friday night, and only at the very end. The impressive five hour performance felt much more improvised, as if the audience had about as much an idea of what he would create next as he did himself.
The organic atmosphere felt perfect for Nicolas Jaar’s style. A bunch of people together inside a simple dome structure for a free show on a Sunday afternoon. The auditory and visual allusions to water and other earthly themes brought about feelings of spiritual and emotional connectedness for the listener.
Nicolas Jaar’s music transcended so many simple musical categories. He could play next to the classical style of the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall or he could rage out at a club full of sweaty bodies looking to grind to the dirtiest electro beats. It felt as though Nicolas Jaar put much thought and effort into making his audience feel apart of a unique and special experience.