Nicolas Jaar is a Chilean-American composer and recording artist based in New York.
A prolific talent, Jaar first captured attention when he was still a teenager, as one of the most exciting acts in New Yorks underground dance scene in the late 2000s. In January 2011 he released his debut album, Space Is Only Noise to critical acclaim, receiving a score of 8.4 and the title of Best New Music from Pitchfork and four stars from the Guardian. It was ranked #1 album of the year by Resident Advisor, Mixmag, and Crack Magazine. Jaar toured the album with his future bandmate Dave Harrington (later of Darkside) and Will Epstein, and was later voted #1 Live Act on Resident Advisor for the three years he toured the record.
In 2012, Jaar debuted a live concept called From Scratch, where, in front of a live audience, he sampled records he had bought that day. The first iteration happened in Queens, New York at MOMA PS1; it was a five-hour concert with collaboration from Will Epstein, videographer Ryan Staake, dancer Lizzie Feidelson and singer Sasha Spielberg. He has also performed From Scratch in Boulder, Colorado, and Montréal, Quebec.
In 2013 Jaar and Harrington released Psychic, their first album as Darkside. The album received much critical acclaim, including a 9.0 score on Pitchfork. In 2021, the band released their much anticipated second album Spiral through Matador records, followed by 2023’s ‘Live At Spiral House’, a series of live interpretations of the album.
2015 saw Jaar release a largely ambient record entitled Pomegranates for free, loosely based around the 1969 Soviet film The Color of Pomegranates by an Armenian filmmaker Parajanov. (2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide). His second studio album, Sirens, was released in 2016 via his label Other People (an imprint of which also has also published work by Lydia Lunch, Pierre Bastien, Tomaga, DJ Slugo, William Basinski, Kouhei Matsunaga, Laurel Halo, Lucrecia Dalt, Charlotte Collin, and Julia Holter.)
In 2018, he released an album under the alias A.A.L. (Against All Logic) called 2012–2017, described by Pitchfork as one of the best albums of the year. In 2020, he released another album under the same alias entitled “2017 – 2019”.
Jaar’s track Killing Time was sampled by The Weeknd on his 2018 hit track Call Out My Name.
2020 was a busy year for Jaar, who released two albums, Cenizas and Telas, both of which received accolades from critics. In 2023, he released Intiha, a collaboration with Pakistani-American artist Ali Sethi which splices bits of Telas into inky soundscapes that twist around Sethi’s largely improvised riffs on Urdu poetry.
As a producer, Jaar has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Grizzly Bear, FKA Twigs and Buzzy Lee. He composed the score for Dheepan, a thriller by French filmmaker Jacques Audiard about a family of Sri Lankan refugees living in the suburbs of Paris. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2015. He also scored Pablo Larrain’s 2019 film Ema.
PRESS FOR NICOLAS JAAR
“an artist who, 12 years into his career, has little to prove about his range or ability. Telas is not a culmination for Jaar, even if it brings his ambient strains closer than ever to the more crowd-pleasing facets of his work. It suggests, instead, that his various guises were always working toward a common aim” – Pitchfork
“Cenizas is an LP of significant gravitas from an artist with among the largest and most engaged followings in electronic music.” – Resident Advisor
“in just 40 minutes, you’ll hear Suicide’s louche techno-punk (albeit slathered in high-gloss electronica and French lounge jazz), Karl Hyde of Underworld’s dada chants, lashings of Talk Talk, and Phil Collins doing Chilean cumbia.” – The Guardian