"The Chilean American producers latest album is his most probing and existential, taking influences from all over his career and placing them into grim atmospheres that slip in and out of reality.
Nicolás Jaar wrote much of his arresting third album in isolation, holed up in a remote corner of the world without booze, cigarettes, or caffeine. It was an attempt to rid himself of negativity, the electronic musician said, but the solitude didnt work as he planned. Negativity haunted him, as did his ego, and eventually Jaar realized the only way out was through: that hed have to face his flaws in order to heal. (Indeed, the optically deceptive cover art suggests a turn inward.) Cenizas latches onto this revelation and burns with suspense, fury, and sadness. It isnt a work of clarity but of cleansingof reckoning with constructive angerand offers little relief aside from a few fleeting moments that are so vivid and lovely they almost hurt. Its Jaar at his most interrogating and existential, exploring grim atmospheres that feel both hallucinatory and troublingly reala relatable image in a disorienting time.
Occasionally, the audacious way Jaar strings sounds togetherwarping melodies, skewing rhythms, stretching soundscapes into horizons of feelingcan make you question your perception. How can it sound both noisy and minimal, mournful and alive? Layer by layer, he reveals new dimensions and expands our understanding of what this album is: a cerebral study in sound design that insists upon asymmetry and atonality; a storm of texture and tension that refuses tidy resolution; a heady, meditative glimpse into Jaars widening third eye; a quietly radical political statement about inequality and resistance. It is a world in which future jazz, warped psychedelia, ambient noise, and monastic chanting coil together like vinesan example, perhaps, of the producers own vision of coexistence.
Jaar, a Chilean American who grew up between Santiago and New York City, appears to be feeling a heightened sense of geopolitical dread. Both countries are in states of violent unrest, albeit of different formsriots and uprisings across Chile, a slow and ugly unraveling in the U.S.and its hard to find an interview where Jaar doesnt sound distressed. (His father, the activist-artist Alfredo Jaar, looms in his work.)"