Published Feb 10, 2020In January, Against All Logic (A.A.L.) quietly introduced his latest EP Illusions of Shameless Abundance and, in so doing, triggered the underground and experimental music community's alarm system.
Unmasked years ago as Chilean-American composer and recording artist Nicolas Jaar, A.A.L. returns with his newest material following critically acclaimed 2012-2017. Considering Jaar just wrapped scoring the sountrack for Pablo Larraín's latest film, co-producing FKA twigs' masterpiece Magdalene, and debuting a collaboration with Patrick Higgins all within the past year, it seems unimaginable to think he had time to squeeze in his favourite alter ego.
But 2017-2019 bursts forward with pace and frenetic energy. On "Fantasy," he sears vintage Beyoncé to staccato perfection and clearly sets the stage for 45 minutes of start-and-stop magic. The album oscillates as only Jaar can, between melodies that salve the soul ("Penny") and cacophonous four-to-the-floor beats that never let up ("Deeeeeeefers"). He seamlessly shifts between musical styles, drawing on his keen ear for experimental electronic to set the tone ⏤ time and time again.
There are also welcomed darker undertones at play on 2017-2019, which add to the musical complexity and moodier atmosphere. "Because if you can't beat 'em, kill 'em / If you can't kill 'em, fuck 'em," belts Lydia Lunch at one point. This isn't the same kind of easy listening championed on 2012-2017. No, this is something entirely different. It radiates raw energy and challenges the listener to engage and re-engage with its material; a small but mighty nine-track one-two punch — one Jaar hits squarely on the nose.
2017-2019 is the music we need in 2020: ambitious, fearless and provocative. (Other People)