by Dylan Peterson
photo by Callie Barlow
Nicolas Jaar creates strangely listenable ambient/experimental music that is very much worthy of a Sunday headlining spot on the Red Stage. The moody synths, slow tempos, and indistinguishable found sounds are lightened by inconspicuous melodies and self-assured crescendos of noise. Equal parts James Blake-ian smoothness and Philip Glass-ian lucidity, the most thrilling aspect of Jaar’s music is how surprising it can be. It’s almost like anti-house music in its unpredictability. Sometimes it’s Latin percussion followed by backwards thunderclaps then a pulsating techno groove and nothing ever feels out of place. His brilliant collaboration with guitarist Dave Harrington in Darkside proved that Jaar is interested in more than being just another club DJ (even though he can hold his own at Smart Bar). His triumphant set will be a worthwhile wait for even peripheral fans of electronic music, providing a perfect soundtrack to the sunset of the final night of Pitchfork Fest.