A few decades is a short time in the history of instruments. But something magical is happening: the electronic instrument, the computer, is finally easily shifting into performance scenarios, into improvisation, and into bands. (The performance features Livid’s Ohm64 and Ableton Live, with sax, guitar, and drums, at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge. See a note on the rig at Livid’s blog.)

Look no further than Nicolas Jaar. In an insightful performance and conversation for MTV Hive, he reveals how he thinks about music – and puts his chops where his mouth is. Excerpt:

“I think honesty and electronic music weren’t really tied together for a while … it was more about forgetting and partying. And now everything is coming together.”

That notion of “honesty” appears to cover finding his voice, finding a performance technique, and finding musical ideas.

In my dream world, this is what MTV looks like when you turn on your television, before reality killed the video star.

We’ve had some reports of difficulty playing the video. We will hopefully get to do our own interview with Mr. Jaar soon, which we’ll make available to all.

And yes, while I enjoy watching the video, I’m very unclear what Nico means by “honesty.” It seems to be a personal take on what he’s doing in his own work, and I’d like to know more, as to me, it’s unclear. Some reader comments, rather than wanting to know more or questioning what he’s saying, instead decide to say that so much as posting this video on CDM takes away from the site’s integrity or suggest that he’s a bad person or that I don’t know that people have used sequencers in live bands before 2011. So, yes, that’s a … perspective. Carry on. I’ll continue trying to do actual research. Nico’s on tour; we’re waiting for him to get back to the US to do a proper interview, for those with more open-minded attitudes.

  • Jim Aikin

    I'm remembering a comment my friend Vic made once, years ago. Vic is gone now; he used to teach at GIT in LA. He taught a class where bands learned how to present themselves onstage. Vic stressed that a band had to appear honest, but he also said that sometimes perceived honesty came down to, are you wearing the right pair of pants. This is both true and pathetic. In light of which, I have to wonder how Mr. Jaar would come across if he wasn't doing all those hip thrusts and eating the microphone.

  • mynameisAMRA

    boo to internationally restricted videos. Is it reposted anywhere where us lowly canadians can see it? I can't find any.

  • Jazzmoron

    He is beeing honest showing us he plays the full track in the short shot around 40sek.

    LOL

  • http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pairshare/id424429744?mt=8 Brian Tuley

    I know it takes a lot of skill and talent to be an electronic dj/musician, but if I ever want to see someone work on a laptop, I'll go to Starbucks.  Honestly, I've never really felt the need to go to clubs to experience the live electronic performance.  I love IDM type stuff, but even if it were Aphex Twin or Autechre up there on stage, I don't see the thrill in watching someone nob twiddle.  (I know I'm old and lame, but that's my honest opinion.)  And let me reiterate, I truly love and respect electronic art-forms. 

  • Greg Oreck

    The show is nice and important.. it's important that the performer is bringing energy to the party/show to help put the crowd in the right mood..  but especially in a dance context isn't it much more important what's coming out of the speakers than what equipment was used to get it there? People complain that they don't see the equipment they want to see on stage to make it 'authentic' but then at the same time get upset that people give to much value/attention to what performers are wearing or how they look.. isn't this the same? I like a good show.. but just have a look at any show by FM Belfast, for example, and you'll see an amazingly interactive and fun show done with mostly a laptop and some people with mics.. Instead let's judge the show on how the show is.. and let's judge the music based on what we hear coming out of the speakers.. That's what I call honesty!  ;)

  • Harry Taynt

    Don't believe the hype!  Sounds like a much less interesting and talented Underworld…

  • Mister Snnnrub

    Some of the best electronic music shows I've been to was when the crowd was paying no attention to the performer, and the performer paid no attention to the crowd, but everyone payed very close attention to the music. The energy of the music + crowd was palpable, and everyone was on the same exact wave length. The vibe and energy in a space like that feels far more genuine than a person on stage pumping his fist or clapping her hands, to…get the crowd going?

  • http://www.disruptermusic.com David S

    Why is it every time a supposedly electronic band performs all I hear is guitar, bass, drum and vocal. I don't know what he even means by honesty if he's got this elaborate laptop and fx setup but you cant hear any of it and it doesn't seem important at all to the music.

    I say before keeping electronic music honest it should be kept electronic!

  • Blob

    @Mister Snnnrub

    "the crowd was paying no attention to the performer, and the performer paid no attention to the crowd, but everyone payed very close attention to the music."

    You see, this is the big issue in electronic music and it's been discussed in CDM before. Were those shows actually shows? Were those actually concerts? Was there actually a performer on stage or was someone just pressing the play button and crossfading between mp3 tracks?

  • http://www.twitter.com/dirtRAID Brand B

    as long as you the performer, and the crowd has a good time are enjoying it.. the term live and electronic music will always be used on a sliding scale..

  • http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pairshare/id424429744?mt=8 Brian Tuley

    And what is honest about electronic music in the first place?  It's one big fat illusion isn't it?  I mean what is a sample of, shall we say a stringed instrument anyway?  It's an illusion.  It's fake.  Like the way Pixar cartoons are fake, and you wouldn't and couldn't or shouldn't stage a one act live Pixar play on stage someplace, because it would likely not work at all, or at the very least it would greatly compromise the time and attention to detail required for a quality production of such an illusion.  And that's OK.  

    Digital music can take loads of time and programming.  A live situation would have to involve more of a DJ triggering samples type of approach.  It's all good.  Although, I think people go to live electronic shows for the drUgKs more than the actual music.  Although the music is important also…..

  • Peter Kirn

    Apologies to our international viewers (heck, which sometimes is *me* — I will have spent less than half of 2011 in the US by the time it's over).

    I'm actually not sure what he means by "honest" here, but that's part of why I posted it. It seems very much personal.

    Anyway, we'll hopefully soon have a CDM interview with Nico. And it'll be visible globally, because CDM isn't, as it happens, MTV.

  • nic

    maybe by honest he means he feels like writing this stuff rather than the type of tracks he spins as a dj.. not paying attention to what expectations of what he should write might be. 

  • Charles

    I'm not understanding this "magical" thing that's just started happening – New Order were doing it nearly 30 years ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV7LKjTV5oI

    There's even a disk swap at 3:33. And speaking of the importance of wearing the right pants:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw5uUZkcio8

  • http://www.djvartam.com http://youtu.be/aESx

    Ill see your New Order and raise you with this :)

    http://youtu.be/aESxITqhBJQ

    http://youtu.be/1v5DSdeAF8w

    Anyways, Nice to see some who knows what their talking about.

  • http://www.djvartam.com VARTAN

    Me above….

  • bliss

    Any illusion that can be perceived is real, as far as I'm concerned. You can go on and on about how an illusion is not authentic, but the illusion itself can be located in time and space. That's real enough for me.

    So, all those folks who claim to have seen UFOs or poltergeists — you can sit back and laugh and say they're crazy, because you didn't have the same experience, by which you would be able to verify theirs, but they remember what they saw. It's real enough not to be fake. Same goes with sampled music, which, unlike Bigfoot, can be located in time and space by anybody who is capable of hearing. Failing that, load the music into a sequencer and the wave forms are there — taking up space on the hard drive. Hardly an illusion at all, because the sampled violins that one hears represent the actual recorded sound of actual violins.

    It certainly would be a jolt if I saw Buzz Lightyear and Mr. Potato Head running across my kitchen floor. But, hey, if they were actually there, and scared my cat too, (if I really had a cat), how would we be able to deny it?

    While I understand that animation is typically not a substitute for anything that exists in real life, and that million dollar Pixar productions play to fiction, and to audiences that love fiction, those productions offer real experiences. Same goes for electronic music performances. As does a lonely drive down an empty highway on a cold winter night.

    Despite your expectations, you never what you're going to hear, see, or feel – or how you will be affected. You're free to discount any experiences that you may have, but recognize that you are discounting something.

    I think that when Jaar talks about honesty, he's talking about heart. Pixar stories have what writers and filmmakers call heart. There's no reason why electronic music and performances cannot benefit from the same thing. Lots of movies don't have heart. They play to the lowest common denominator and are made for the sole purpose of making money, rather than telling a good story. Electronic music can also be about nothing more than base desires. Making music that has heart is a goal for some — even if the intent is to express base desires.

    YMMV.

  • bliss

    Correction: "Despite your expectations, you never know what you’re going to hear, see, or feel…"

  • http://www.mutantm.com mutantm

    It's funny, this guy seems to be thinking that he's the first person to make electronic music that is not dance music.

  • http://craniumfortress.bandcamp.com/ Cranium Fortress

    I have to say that this is cool, but nothing new. I have been doing this for a while now and generally have found people to respond quite well to the music and the laptop has nothing to do with it. Period.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlcEyFUdOlk

  • Blob

    @mutantm

    Not quite, I think you're being a bit too rough on Jaar – I think that when he talks about "honesty" he's talking about live physical performance and also musical integrity – two things that were lacking in live electronic music events during the 90's and early 2000's: lots of DJ's waving hands at crowds while mindlessly spinning other people's records, and not enough actual live music making and composition. Whether Jaar achieves this or not, is a matter of opinion- I also think he's not particularly innovative (performance or composition wise) but I think I know where he's coming from and it's a fair point.

  • Juno

    Oh Shit.

    It's the old 'authenticity in rock music' trope again.

    Change it to 'honesty' and have your rock band have an computer (organ) player and it's so 2011. This was debated endlessly in the 1970's, when incidentally bands like Cluster was doing everything described.

    We're really getting nowhere.

  • Larru Hungury

    first post on this site that made me cringe. From innovative music and technology to reporting on a "trip-hop" chump.

     I just lost a little respect for you, CDM

  • Heath

    If I have a sample of a violin, and I record a violin and have it in a track, the listener is still technically hearing an "illusion" either way, since both are just a recording of an instrument.  (this of course is not counting a live experience as it is listening to a record or CD.)

  • punna

    Love a lot of Jaar's production and mixes but I do have to say twiddling a hi-pass filter and talking about the nuance of electronic music performance kind of makes him look like a punk.

  • Peter Kirn

    Greetings, CDM readers.

    Come this week, we'll be overhauling the comment system. Gone will be the days of open commenting without ratings. I look forward to seeing what happens to the ratings of some comments that seem to me not to be fully thought out before posting.

    Note – the "computer" is shifting more comfortably into performance settings. Earlier bands were typically using hardware sequencers. It's taken until recently for computer setups to become fully flexible and stable. In fact, if you were involved in making the computer into a performance instrument in past decades, you'd likely be intimate with many of the challenges of doing so — and, likewise, how unfortunately infrequent such rigs were in relation to the countless CDJ DJs, etc.

    @Larru: how well do you actually know Nico's music? What you're describing doesn't sound like the albums I've heard.

  • FCM

    Arguments about the "authentic" go all the way back to organum. Ars Nova. Musica ficta. Lead Belly & Lomax. Proto-disco vs pop-disco.

    It's not that the idea can't be revisted in current times, but I'd just rather listen to someone talk about who… knows what they are talking about.

    This douche says electronic music was NOT ABOUT HONESTY, IT WAS ABOUT PARTYING? Until it got woven into guitar playing. Well that's just f'in brilliant. Doctoral thesis in the works, there. And he just happens to be saving the soul of electronic music by playing a guitar. WHAT A CLUELESS F_.

  • Peter Kirn

    Good God, it's a brief comment that obviously means something personal to him, edited here out of context. The overwhelming reaction I had watching the video is, here's a guy who has something to say, but I'm not sure entirely what it is. I'm very eager to find that out, to do my own reporting on this and find out what he meant, because it's really unclear.

    But I can tell you, comments like this make artists very hostile to sites like this. We could have an actual debate about a substantive issue here, but this is just namecalling.

  • http://craniumfortress.bandcamp.com/ Cranium Fortress

    To all the people who quickly bash this artist and this post. It was meant to illustrate how far we have come in implenting computers into a live set-up, as Peter has pointed out. First of all, this artist is very relevant in the electronic music scene, and it is people like that we should be celebrating instead of bashing. It's one thing if his music has not communicated to you, but another thing entirely to bash an artist that many of us emulate as far as being a tour electronic musician. If you actually take the time to listen to his music, you will find out that he has a very unique approach and style and we should be celebrating this and not bashing it. As far as the performance goes, I feel the point is that he has his computer so well implemented that it all comes out very seamlessly in a band performance. This is not an example of some solo artist IDM-ing the hell out of a track with samples and glitch. If you don't have anything good or constructive to say, please think long and hard about what it is your trying to say and do your research. I am very thankful for this site and all the diverse articles that Peter puts up.

  • FCM

    Ok, I'm sorry for the name calling. He is not those things I called him. But his opinion is revolting and I think it deserves a thrashing. So let's discuss that. (PS, what exactly did I say about his music that was offensive?)

    Jaar made a pretty clear-cut statement: Electronic music (of the past) was about "forgetting" and "partying", in direct contrast to "honesty." Playing the guitar is honest, according to him, while 30 years of dance music was dishonest.

    I was calling attention (perhaps over-caustically) to the arrogance and historical ignorance of his position. There is substantial literature surrounding the social value of dance music, especially house/nyc/gay/black/latin scene. There are important, meaningful, and aesthetic values to the development of late 20th C. dance forms, especially in regarding to eurocentric versus afrocentric traditions, the challenging of social norms, and just plain awesome music.

    Jaar would dismiss all of that because…. why? It doesn't conform to his concept of western ballad song forms? Because playing guitar is real and everything else is fake? We're not even talking about Stockhausen and friends… was that honest enough for Jaar?

    It's such a pathetic was to position one's self: "Music used to be inconsequential and meaningless, but, uh, now it's honest. And, hey I just happen to play in a band that MAKES that honest music. (pat on the back)"

    Ugh. Sorry I can't hide my disgust, but that's just such a juvenile position. I'm sorry for my own adolescent name-calling. If you want to respond, I'll give a cordial response as possible and we can try to clarify his position in a way that moves things forward.

  • FCM

    BTW, I use this phrase "There is substantial literature " because it's fine if you want to say: "I don't like this kind of music."

    You don't even have to explain yourself.

    But say "This music isn't honest" and you better be ready to defend yourself with something a little more substantial than an aesthetic opinion as a proxy for "truth".

  • Peter Kirn

    It's obviously intended as a provocative statement. Like I said, I wasn't quite ready to leap on it only because I don't know what it means. It's obviously important to him, though, so I'll follow up. Yes, I'd be inclined to disagree that making music that people dance to is somehow dishonest, if that's really what he means(!)

  • http://craniumfortress.bandcamp.com/ Cranium Fortress

    TO FCM:

    Your reading too much into what he is saying. Like most humans, when we open our mouths we 'generalize' Of course he is not saying, 'that all forms of electronic music of the past is party music and therefore dishonest". He is just pointing out that it's much more common in more recent electronic music for there to be more of an emphasis on partying and DJing and that too him that is serving more of a purpose to 'party' as opposed to capture true emotions inside. And in the end the honesty he is referring to is more about his creative process and less about electronic music. If this angers you, than I am sorry, but again he is an example of a very successful electronic musician who makes highly original music. What can be wrong with that?

  • http://none Alex

    @Peter Kirn, 

    thanks for continuing to produce an excellent blog that covers interesting stuff within the realm of electronic media, artists as well as tech. And being incredibly patient and calm. 

    @The Internet

    Please grow up and leave your raging for 4chan. 

  • mugatu

    wow some really harsh comments here indeed.. i think the problem of this video is the overly epicness of the MTV editors, making this clip look like an outtake from the movie zoolander! I think Jaar is quite brilliant actually, his remixes and productions are impeccable and always surprising which is a rare feat these days.. i think what he means about being "honest" in his music is just about being spontaneous and doing what he wants, avoiding getting pigeonholed in a certain music category or subgenre. i think it's a pretty valid statement, listening to his album and various ep's, the range is all over the place, slow-fast tempos, pianos, guitars, synths, 808's, world, trip-hop, tech-house..etc and it somehow all seems cohesive and not messy or forced.. i also really really doubt he disregards partying or the house/nyc/club scene, i mean the guy has been headlining some of the best parties in europe this year, and has put out some of the funkiest records on already cult NY label Wolf+Lamb.. i think he and fellow buddies Soul Clap are the most exciting new acts to come from america since Matthew Dear.. that being said there is a kind of seriousness about his attitude that reflects in his music, which is quite surprising for a 22 year old and could come off as pretentious and falsely modest, whichever the case i am definitely looking forward to the interview, especially the creative process more so than philosophy and semantics..

  • http://www.audiblechroma.com Tim

    I was able to watch it in Australia.

  • FCM

    The blog post headlines "honesty." He starts with honesty and returns to it. It's a theme throughout. I think it's fair game to take issue with his statement. I'm not jumping on a completely out-of-context statement.

    I'm getting the sense that most of the defense, here, is basically, "I like his music and him, so lay off his off-the-cuff statement." Except that it's the topic of the interview and it echos a fairly common misconception about dance music. It's not semantics by a long shot. I wouldn't get into the details of this with casual listeners, but I would expect self-professed electronic music listeners to take a serious second thought about this sort of thing. As far as it being a provocative statement, I don't think that lets him off the hook, especially since it's just an plain echo of certain mainstream sentiments. Telling me to chill out is like telling a minority to chill out when they encounter a slight or marginalization in the mainstream media: blackface and all of its descendants. Chill out dude, it's just entertainment.

    Again, if this was Fox News Joe Blow saying the same thing, I would completely expect it. Inside this community, I expect someone to back that shit up with some serious explanation.

    His statement was very different than: "I have a hard time expressing myself honestly with 4/4 dance trax." Or even, "I don't feel that 4/4 dance trax are expressive."

    Again I'm sorry for the inflammatory words in my remarks; they take away all my credibility.

    But for those who don't understand why, it's just soooooo annoying so see this type of crap over and over in different forms. History is literally full of comments like this. The "we have arrived at a turning point" proclaimed by the artist, with a smack to the foil of their vision. In this case, it's the convenient straw-man of a DJ mindlessly spinning records while waving his arms.

  • Peter Kirn

    Well, yes, in fairness –

    It's a provocative way of putting things which I made more provocative by emphasizing in the article. So I shouldn't be surprised that people are provoked. ;)

    Honestly, though, as an artist — to what FCM is saying — don't you kind of *want* that feeling, even if engineered in your own mind, that what you're doing is a kind of turning point *for yourself*? I think that's okay; that's what may motivate you to perform. I remember a jazz teacher, a pianist who had struggled with intense stage fright. What he would do before every gig is meditate on the idea that *he was the best pianist who had ever played.* Now, the guy wasn't an asshole; he was tremendously humble and generous the rest of the time, and spent hours studying the legends of his field, and was fully aware that he wasn't anything of the kind. But that's what allowed him to give his best performance.

    I think there's a value to being provocative in how you think about your work, if it motivates you to be better. And of course, there's a value to then taking issue with those same provocative ideas. 

    My issue here was, because of the way the video was edited, I don't think we got anything approaching the context of the quote, so it's therefore tough to have a debate.

    Hopefully I'll get to talk to Nico and can find out what he thinks about this, and other matters, as well.

    This was posted as a teaser, because I don't work for MTV and therefore didn't edit the video and can't control the fact that over half of our readers can't even see it. I pulled that quote because I thought it was interesting and wanted to know more. So it's a teaser. If it isn't fully fleshed out, talk to MTV. ;)

  • Peter Kirn

    Sorry, the US and Australia. Anyway, if you can't watch the video — or even if you haven't gotten to listen to his whole new album first — try to be patient. ;)

  • tristan

    The great thing about the jaar album is that there is a great sense of humour that underpins everything he created. He doesn't take himself too seriously…which is more than i can say for the majority of contributors writing here. I think therein lies the honesty. His point is that he has stopped trying to sound like anyone else, and just started making the music that comes out of him. That's his honesty. Anyone who makes music has probably had a similar epiphany at some point. Plus the guy's 21!! Give him a break. What's the matter with you guys? Did someone downgrade your credit rating or something??

  • mugatu

    The video streams perfectly fine here in Paris, France… I'd assume elsewhere as well!! ;-)

  • Bjørn Nesby

    David S has a point. It's a pretty traditional rock setup, with the synthesizer/drummer being replaced by a laptop. What's noteworthy is probably the fact that we don't notice this anymore, it's just standard procedure in 2011.

    If we really want to challenge ourselves as electronic musicians, we should learn to improvise with our chosen instrument. This can be done as a single individual, or together as a group. 

    PS: Video stream is working here as well (DK)  

  • Peter Kirn

    @Brian: yes, my point was here, and has regularly been, that this kind of combination is becoming more commonplace, more flexible, less difficult. 

    I'm guessing what we were getting was inconsistent international performance of MTV's streaming server rather than in fact region-limiting, so glad to hear it's working!

  • http://computermusicguide.com Chris

    Peter, 

    I'm 3 days late to this one (yea weekends!) but indeed, there's something to be said for video editing and the editorializing effect it can have on the finished product. 

    Certainly, on the surface,  there's the appearance of the quote being a back handed reference to Electronic Music being mainly "rave music" and somehow, through his efforts, he's re-appropriating it and aligning himself with the likes of Radio Head and Imogene Heap.

    However the hidden insult to injury that I detect is that the music he's playing easily falls into the contemporary hip/indie/pop/post/dark/wave stuff that's been around for the last decade and a half. 

    Now given that, I'm sure if you asked you'd find he is big fan of EDM, but had a falling out with it at one point where it failed him in terms of his own personal expectations of expression. And quite honestly, that's something that at one point or another, we've all experienced. 

    Sadly, though, those sentiments weren't to be found in this video and I think it's safe to safe to say most of what we've seen here is a knee jerk reaction to our culture of sound bytes.

  • Jonah

    Early rave music before it became a cult of DJ personality worship and was purportedly about dancing and being "free" was more "honest". What's dishonest about wanting to have a good time? But I wasn't alive then, so who knows if it was actually like that or not!

    Jaar's music is fine, but I would put it firmly on the side of "dishonest", although the more correct term would probably be archetype fulfilling. It seems he's taken on the Apollo role. This is debatable I suppose. :)

    "There is a strong distinction between Apollonian and Dionysian music. The former was composed of merely suggestive tones, whose wave-beats of rhythm "were developed for the representation of Apollonian states." Apollonian music was structural, and played no active role. "

    On the other side Iggy Pop(fake name!) is the classic example of someone portraying a Dionysian character. Interestingly he was very self aware of this.

    A performance by it's very nature is "dishonest". It's a practiced replaying and acting out of events. Ultimately,  the best performances rise above this rehearsal of emotions to communicate something universal and true and yeah, honest!

    The large majority of musical recordings even(or maybe especially!) with "real" instruments are "dishonest" as well. What you hear has been EQ'd, reverbed, double tracked etc.

    The video we just watched was edited to have a greater impact and is therefore dishonest. Let's not even get into the lighting, makeup, etc.

    It goes on and on in every field. 

    I'm not quite sure why the appearance of honesty is so important to people(myself included) when more often than not we aren't honest!

    So, basically: it's complicated and people are complicated. It's silly to get mad about it and I find it really pretty neat. :)

  • Random Chance

    To me (after finally having the time to watch the video) it's quite clear what he means by honesty: It's what "comes out of him" without much thinking and without conciously trying to emulate anything else (to paraphrase what he says towards the end of the video). That's a valid point in so far as historically artists have also made it and stood by it to some degree. Of course, an artist that adheres to this strategy will also fret over certain details (like lyrics that don't quite have the right sound or rhythm for instance), but the "core" of what they are doing will be something that is conceived in one go. The whole "vision" is there and filling in the blanks is reduced to skillful craft. I can somehow relate to this sentiment and I share to some degree the disillusionment regarding EDM (and other) producers trying to please the people by repeating some old formula and cutting off all the branches of their work that might actually bear beautiful blossoms. In a way that's dishonest because you don't really talk about what you have on your mind (assuming you really have a broader horizon and deeper feelings, both things that drugs used in certain subcultures can fix for you). I don't see anything wrong with pleasing and entertaining people and I don't get the feeling that Mr Jaar does either. I feel that it's mostly the montage of the video that makes his disconnected statements come out more arrogant than they are probably meant. He does not seem too arrogant to me, but I might be wrong.

  • FCM

    I don't think anybody is reading these comments anymore, but I just want to reply for the record.

    Frankly, I don't think any of the explanations here are particularly compelling. I don't think they are even respectful to the idea of having an honest conversation about subconscious hierarchies about music, that live in people's heads, and the reasons those hierarchies are there.

    It's not "silly to get mad" about widespread cultural misunderstandings, which are propagated on a specialty website. And the only "knee jerk reaction" here is the desire to sweep it all under the rug. Do I need to smoke a J and say "It's all good Brah" to hang with you guys?

    The notion that EDM is a brainless art form is a popular, culturally-mainstream, dismissive notion. It only reinforces a highly westernized concept of the work of art as something created by a single composer, something put through the stages of composition, distribution, and then consumption. Cult of the genius. Cult of virtuosity. This is basically a classical music paradigm, that really developed in the romantic era, but continues to have strong echos in pop music practices.

    I will say again: this is something I would expect from the mainstream media, like Rolling Stone or something. I would expect an electronic-music community to have the capacity to question and have a nuanced discussion about this.

    Jaars words could have been paraphrased from Theodor Adorno's criticisms of Jazz and Blues, since they were forms that were based largely around rhythmic and/or dance structures. I'm sure when Tin Pan Alley and Elvis came along to smooth out the rough edges of that music for popular audiences, they thought they were saving the music from the mindless juke joints and dancing savages, in all their dishonesty.

    Jaar's statement was quite lucid and not out of context. He took a stand to say what an entire genre of music was about, as a convenient launch point to talk about what he was doing.

    A teenager can be forgiven (or ignored) for having an inflated ego and completely warped sense of history. But someone past the college age should begin to have a clue that the world is big and has a looooooooooong history, and that they might want to choose their words carefully and have respect for traditions they may not yet understand. I mean, how hard is it to do a google search and read some history? There are TONS of books available on these subjects. I would have died to have these resources when I was growing up.

    Anyway, in my world, what a person says means something. And if you take a convenient piss on a form of music, even just a small piss, you should be called out on it.

    Peter, I do respect the work you put into the site. I'm obviously a reader. And I understand if you want to bar me and/or anyone else who has a dirty mouth, but frankly, *honestly*, I think it's far worse for the site to pass comments like Jaar's without a rebuttal to smack the philistinical ignorance it was born of.

  • Evan

    Just let the boy make his music people common…He's young he's discovering stuff and he looks like a nice chap.

    Who cares if you know 1 million old obscure electronic acts that were doing this before, who cares if you think this is sell out or this is bullshit. He's just a product of society like we all are, influenced by all the same stuff.

    Don't judge him judge the system.

    And face it there are no big artists any more, everything is overcrowded and blurry there is no secret knowledge and there are no revolutionary musical ideas anymore…

    That is if you don't count people swiping over ipads with thier finger and calling it revolutionary. Music has become one big grey blob of individuals who just want to do something that they saw elsewhere and like a little bit of attention now and then, choosing marketed gear they see on blogs like this or in magazines. Honesty? Just forget about it already and stop whining.

  • jasmin

    to see his interview/ photo shoot with Bullett Magazine :  http://www.bullettmedia.com/article/nicolas-jaar/