This evening I went to see electronic composer Nicolas Jaar at the Columbus Theater. Jaar isn’t just a sound artist though, he is a visual artist, coupling his performances with a synchronized light show. Utilizing the theater as his canvas, lights flashed and moved in correlation with musical transitions.
As for Jaar’s sound, I like to refer to it as future jazz. His compositions are multi-layered and hypnotic…altogether, extra-dimensional. Tonight, the historical Columbus theater only further amplified his sound, and I believe Jaar took full advantage of this. His distorted, looping rifts and rhythms played well into creating a very unique architecture of sound.
For the majority of the time, Jaar was enveloped by darkness. It seemed as though the show wasn’t really about watching someone on stage, rather, it was about having a sensory experience. To my surprise, about half-way through, he pulled out a saxophone and played it. Interestingly enough, he amplified the saxophone through an effects processor, which generated quite a unique sound. In comparing his studio albums to his live shows, you will soon realize that just like jazz, Jaar relies heavily on experimentation + improv. As a result of this, each concert becomes an exclusive experience of its own.