Published Dec 07, 2016
5. Nicolas Jaar
Much of the press around Nicolas Jaar's incredible sophomore LP Sirens has focused on the record's politics, the way Jaar's anguished lyrics wrestle with Chilean history and today's global politics of fear. But to reduce this record to its real-world inspiration or its political intentions, even if Jaar himself acknowledges them, is to lose sight of the awesome grandeur of the music itself.
Sirens is cinematic in scope, and carefully paced in a way that rewards listening to its entirety. It's adventurous in its embrace of varied styles and timbres, but delivers them with a consistent feeling of grittiness, raw sincerity and depth.
The arresting piano and shattered glass intro of "Killing Time," the avant-jazz saxophone solo in "The Governor," the propulsive post-punk beat in "Three Sides of Nazareth" and the plaintive piano scattered throughout the album are likely highlights for many listeners, but Sirens possesses a feeling of immensity that makes cherry-picking for highlights like these seem counterproductive. It's better to just listen from the beginning, and be transported by this stirring and evocative work.