Nicolas Jaar Captures Our Schizophrenic and Anxious Pre-Election Moment

Reference points abound. Creativity is a blender. Nicolas Jaar’s “The Governor,” reminds me of Steve Mason’s eerie vocals. The synths meander around, weaving in and out of the vocals. The soundscrape builds and the drums kick in. The experimental productions of Matthew Shipp filter in and out. About two-thirds of the way through the nearly seven minute track, the skittering rhythms give way to piano samples which call to mind Bonobo and the sampled jazz that would be familiar on a Tribe Called Quest cut from the early 2000s. The stylized cacophony drifts in and out in. Cascades of free-jazz and reverb, then smoothes into a faded calmness. This track is easily one of my favorites in a while. The lyrics suggest a suspicion of power and the apathy and powerlessness that we fight against in order to remain democratic in our hopes. Whether Jaar is referring to his Chilean roots or the present authoritarian tendencies of the modern political moment, the sounds and images he creates certainly resonate.

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