Against All Logic - 2017 - 2019
Feb 22, 2020 (updated Mar 23, 2020)
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UNPOPULAR OPINION: "2017-2019" is slightly better than its predecessor, and I'm going to explain why...

About two years ago, Nicolas Jaar dusted off his record cabinet full of disco and house albums and resurrected one of his old pseudonyms for a compilation album full of ingenious samples and limitless mixes, with the particularity of making you happier with each new listening. And although "2012-2017" is one of the most solid electronic projects of the last decade, I really think this album was a bit overrated. It's an album that, thanks to its accessibility, served as a gateway to house music for many people and was a huge commercial and critic success. For the new album, the A.A.L. software was updated, Jaar now looks to the future of club music as the new decade takes its first steps. Nicolas Jaar shows his genius against all logic on "2017-2019".

Recently, the Chilean producer presented a new project "AEAEA" with Patrick Higgins, made the soundtrack of a short film by Pablo Larraín and helped the producers of FKA Twigs on "Magdalene"; trying to learn in so many different fields and constantly challenging himself to experiment in unknown territory is truly inspiring and admirable. Experimentation is indeed the central element and the main goal of the A.A.L. project for Jaar. "2017-2019" is a shorter project than its predecessor, almost 20 minutes, but instead of presenting a rather classic or even generic style of tech-house, it uses its duration to immerse the listener in a much more interesting experience in terms of textures and structures of the songs.

As on the previous record, Jaar tinkers with a really famous song on the first track of the album (here "Baby Boy" by Beyoncé), swirling thanks to a broken rhythm and an acid bass. The difference, however, is that this is not a simple dancing sample like on the previous album but a thoughtful exploration of club music. Apart from the second track "If loving you is wrong" - which could just as well have been a Jamie xx song - there is very little material that reminds us of its predecessor which was rather warm. It's a much more aggressive project; there's a lot more experimentation and a darker tone.

This exceptional new direction requires more and more re-listening in order to understand all the complexity of the tracks. Each new visit of this record makes me realize how wonderful and creative the production and mixing are, so that each track is anti-conformist but accessible to everyone. And as with the previous album, this project explores almost every approach that dance music has to offer, just with a more substantive and experimental approach. The aggressiveness with which some songs dare to express themselves, like the heavy "If you can't do it good, do it hard" with Lydia Lunch or "Deeeeeeefers" which turns techno upside down, is also the result of Jaar's new philosophy of "I don't care about anything, I do what I want".

Elsewhere, we seem to find some remnants of the music Jaar made a few years ago; meandering IDM with embedded Latin electronica like on "Faith" or the finale "You (forever)". The eye for detail in the many small samples and the short bleeps of these songs however show the technical progress Jaar has made in the end of the last decade. This relaxing journey into acidic unknown lands is therefore the result of the free spirit of the Chilean bird finally shining through on "2017-2019", an album that sounds so ingeniously diverse and yet so coherent that it is breathtaking. I'm looking forward to "2020-..." under the same pseudonym.

See you next time, Nicolas.

Best tracks: "Fantasy", "Penny", "Deeeeeeefers", "If Loving You Is Wrong", "Faith", "If You Can’t Do It Good, Do It Hard (feat. Lydia Lunch)".

Worst track: "Alarm"
WhatTheFunk's Tags
2 Comments
Feb 23, 2020
I agree, to me, I really like the cold, bitter sounds on this album than the vibrance of 2012-2017. I actually hate that album, and currently 2017-2019 is my highest rated album of the year (so far).
Feb 23, 2020
@okcomputer12127 Yeah, I saw your 49 on 2012-2017... The first time I listened to it I didn't like it too much either, so I totally understand your positioning.
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