Review: The Transcendental, Unearthly Realm Of Nicolás Jaar’s ‘Telas’

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 Nicolás Jaar | Telas | Other People

Release Date: July 17, 2020

Chilean American DJ, producer and composer Nicolás Jaar is an artist who, in each and every aspect of his career, showcases his mesmerizing willingness to cross the boundaries of genre and dive headfirst into the realm of compelling experimentation: delving into almost every world the music industry has to offer with his musical prowess.

Jaar’s releases spanning across the last decade have become dearly beloved for the evident skill the musician demonstrates: but the almost extraterrestrial level of hard work and diligence Jaar shows with his consistent stream of work. 

From studio albums and EP releases to singles, remixes, edits, collaborations, compilations and most recently, soundtracks: looking at Jaar’s discography can be quite overwhelming, an outstanding feat the multi-faceted artist in just a decade.

We have already seen two releases from the artist this year: a new dance-project collection under the alias Against All Logic followed by the surprise release of his 5th studio album, ‘Cenizas‘ which we reviewed here. His latest studio album and 3rd release this year ‘Telas’ released on his own imprint Other People: focuses on his ambient side with the four-tracks on the album each clocking at around 15 minutes or so, adding up to about an hour of music.

Telas‘ is an album that cannot be reviewed in a regular manner, as by no means could it even be likened to the word “regular”. To focus on ‘Telas’ track by track in detail would be similar to that of taking a scene from a film out of context and claiming for it to be a review of the entire film itself – perhaps an apt comparison due to the nature of this album.

One of the most noteworthy and truly outstanding elements when it comes to ‘Telas’ is that each of the four tracks could be considered full-blown narratives within themselves, with dazzling composition sharing with us a story lacking words: while the album is touted as an unofficial successor to Jaar’s 2015 ‘Pomegranates‘, which was later introduced as the soundtrack for the 1969 film ‘The Colour Of Pomegranates‘ – ‘Telas’ is in itself an transcendental narrative, as Jaar’s prowess with ambient music shines through the entire album.

Jaar is known for his focus on crafting delicately interwoven textures into a compelling whole, and it’s his use of each individual timbre in ‘Telas’ that allows for the hypnotic immersion the album brings forth.

Using electronics, traditional and custom made instruments allows for this to stand out from the label of it simply being an ambient album. ‘Telahora‘ opens with call from a horn, the track fluidly exploring brash metallic percussion – contrasting glittering chimes and lavish, atmospheric electronics that craft an unearthly feel, as if entering another realm. ‘Telahumo‘ cradles an atmosphere that comes across as cloaked in shadows, slightly unnerving at times with biting metallics and even shrill moments of feedback: the interludes of slow, drawn out ambience feels ghostly, a malevolent underworld lurking within dark empty spaces – followed by the chirping bird-songs of lively, spirited melodies as the track closes.

Telas‘ is more of an experience as opposed to a simple release of an ambient album: the rich, lavish world Jaar has constructed using the highly unique combination of both electronic and traditional or custom textures and atypical track structures allow for it feel more like a deeply intricate journey, a meditative realm one enters and subsequently emerges from with a new perspective. It may even come across as a fantastical narrative, but also works well as a soundtrack for many of our lives at the moment – which may sound somewhat depressing considering the circumstances, but the poignancy of ‘Telas’ through auditory storytelling is genuinely bewitching.

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Rating: 9 / 10

Feature Image: Nicolás Jaar, Press

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