Nicholas Jaar : Sirens - Album Review

CHILEAN-AMERICAN producer and composer Nicolas Jaar released his second solo full-length LP Sirens at the end of September. The album is Jaar’s first substantial release since the disbanding of Darkside, the band he ran alongside Dave Harrington.Upon first glance, Sirens appears to be quite a short album, coming in at only six tracks. However, what Jaar manages to pack into just those six songs is nothing short of phenomenal. Opening track ‘Killing Time’ slowly brings the album to life, with a repeating piano motif arising from the ambient swirls that have characterised so much of the producer’s work to date.This certainly is an album for the patient listener. Anyone yet unfamiliar with the producer’s style will find his prolonged breakdowns and ambient parts at times frustrating and at others baffling. Those that fully invest themselves into the music will be greatly rewarded when the full jigsaw is finally revealed. It’s an album that demands your attention throughout.With this album, Jaar pushes his already nuanced sound even further. Although a classically trained pianist, Jaar has thus far refrained from relying too heavily on organic instrumentation in his work. Sirens sees a change in that respect and the addition of classical piano, saxophone and plucked violins is a welcome one. More admirable still is how well interwoven this instrumentation is with the electronic sounds in the album. Album standout ‘The Governor’s’ combination of breakbeat and sax produces a sort of glorious noir-esque feel echoed throughout the entire album.Whether or not Sirens will see Jaar explode into popularity is yet to be determined, but it is definitely his most compelling release to date.