June 5, 2017

Imagination is an obvious but somehow underrated commodity. All too often artists opt for the conventional route on the rote promotional routine. This isn’t some “road not taken” shibboleth, but rather the road often not glimpsed. It’s a path you have to machete rather than merely saying yes to every opportunity.

Of course, money and clout are inextricable. If you’re struggling to get by and lack resources, it puts a limitation on your capabilities. But the best artists work with less and refuse to release anything into the world that isn’t well-conceived and deliberate in its intentions (while remaining flexible enough to let the genius of accidental moments seep into the finished product).

All this to explain why I stay Nicolas Jaar-Hive (I’d invoke the phrase Jaarheads, but let’s all retain our dignity). Whereas most artists seem to openly court fame and all the cliches that co-exist, Jaar has doubled down on being an artist. And while it can appear pretentious from afar, he’s gifted and intelligent enough to elude the absurdities so easy to the ambitious.

Take his latest Boiler Room. Rather than acquiesce to the expected, laptop DJ in front of a indolent swaying crowd, Jaar took the chance on re-inventing the format, co-directing the final piece and aspiring to bridge the Boiler Room template with Enter the Voice and his last album, Sirens.

“This project is completely unprecedented and out of the ordinary for us, co-directed by Nico Jaar and our U.S. Broadcast Producer Josh Boss- it’s Boiler Room meets Gaspar Noe’s “Enter The Void” meets Jaar’s last studio album “Sirens.” It’s glitchy and nervous, riddled with anxiety and the shadows of New York that have ostensibly vanished into a Chase Manhattan vestibule. This set is flawless in conception, loose in execution, intelligent dance music that you can actually dance to. Original ideas for an old void.