In an oversaturated industry filled with homogeneous music, ego and ideas, Nicolas Jaar weaves together sounds with textures and eras, leading his listeners on a journey of sonic exploration and otherworldly experiences. In our humble opinion, Jaar is one of the finest things to happen to electronic music. He is a master and a marvel as a producer and a live musician but even his earlier DJ sets are just as intense and bone chilling. They're for sunrise, sunset, preparty, afterparty, dinner party and any party really. In the run up to his two upcoming DJ sets in Tokyo and Taipei, where he will play for the for the first time ever, we've compiled 10 sets that we feel are amongst some of the most influential of all time.
2008: Live at the Marcy Hotel
The Marcy Hotel, where it all began together with Wolf + Lamb. Just barely out of high school and prior to starting his degree at Brown, he only was 18 when this was recorded and already well on his way to solidifying his position as a modern day Mozart.
2 2010: Tsugi Podcast
This soulful journey dates back to 2010 and will impress even the most discerning music lovers. It’s a mesmerizing collection of music from Blackalicious, Cat Power, Can, Kid Koala, Mayaan Nidam, Animal Collective and more. All 2,000 plays on this SoundCloud link alone are probably ours and it’s easily our favorite mix from the wunderkind. Download link here.
3 2010: RA.211
It’s likely you’ve never heard a mix like this before. Jaar’s first RA mix (the second came in 2015) is a divine bricolage of modern music weaved with snippets of the past. The hip-hop heavy hour-long number eases through music from J Dilla, Mobb Deep, Aphex Twin, Marvin Gaye, Ricardo Villalobos, Seth Troxler, LCD Soundsystem, Glass Candy and even an a capella version of Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Juicy’ and the stunning vocals of soviet starlet Alla Pugasheva. The mix is fully engrossing and you’ll have it on repeat time and time again. But to do that you'll need to download it.
4 2010: Beats In Space
This mix enchants you from the first track. It starts off with Jaar’s own remix of ‘Winter Rose’ by The Bees and continues on with plenty of hip-hop instrumentals and heavy doses of The Alchemist before finishing off with Iva Gocheva. There is four parts to the mix, which is broken up by dialogue between the show’s host Tim Sweeney and Nicolaas Jaar. Download the magic here.
5 2010: Time Out
An exclusive set of unreleased original productions and remixes curated for Timeout, Jaar features friends like Azari & III, Soul Keita and Matthew Dear. You’ll also hear plenty of Jaar’s own vocals layered atop the 45-minute mix. We found it for you to download here.
6 2011: XLR8TR podcast
Jaar was just 21 when he was commissioned by XLR8TR in 2011 and the mix features mostly unreleased songs and remixes by Jaar himself but he also manages to seamlessly squeeze in some Bob Dylan as well as mid-century jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. The mix sees him explore moods, tempos, styles, and eras with music. Download the mix here.
7 2012: Live at Sónar
Jaar’s Sónar debut was full of a lot of his own music but with enough groove to engage a dance floor. The soul, mood and melodies in this mix make it a tried and tested crowd pleaser for any occasion. Jaar is booked again for Sónar in 2017 and we’re excited to see where he’ll go with his performance this time around. Find it for your collection here.
8 2013: Boiler Room
Short but sweet, Jaar takes it back to New York representing his now defunct Clown & Sunset label on this 45-minute Boiler Room showcase – video link provided so you get some sense of how the magic happens. While the mix is less ambitious than what we’ve come to expect from Jaar, it’s laced with more house and techno than usual so that’s a treat. The mix also features his track with Sasha Spielberg called ‘Just Friends’. Find it for keeps along with many more here.
9 2014: BBC 1 Essential Mix
With this work of art, Jaar won Essential Mix of the Year and in it he takes listeners deeper than ever before down a journey through love and hate, light and dark, and heaven and hell. Slow and stripped free of the usual BBC 1 overlay, it’s one of the greatest musical journeys of our time with music running the gamut from Leonard Cohen all the way through to Beyonce. Keep it forever here.
10 2015: RA.500
When RA celebrated their 500th podcast in 2015, instead of narrowing it down to one artist they approached all their favorites since debuting in 2006 and recruited them for another. Amongst those were Dixon, Steffi, Ben UFO and Jaar. Magic, rhythm and beats over beats over beats make up the foundation of Jaar’s second RA mix and by this point, fans knew what to expect. Naturally Jaar delivered a one-hour mix that showcases his extraordinary ability to compile cutting edge music with a lot of love. Find it in full here.
EPIZODE²: Âme, Guti, John “00” Fleming, Leeroy Thornhill & more added to the bill
It’s the line-up that won’t stop
26 photos of sound systems through the ages
An intimate look at the evolution of sound system culture