When Nicolas Jaar was 17, he e-mailed a piece of electronic music, which he made on his laptop, to a record label in Brooklyn. He’d heard an interview with the owner of the label, Wolf + Lamb, who was going on about house music and “elasticity.” Jaar felt he knew exactly what the guy was talking about. Wolf + Lamb agreed to put out Jaar’s first E.P. and invited him to perform at a somewhat sketchy space called the Marcy Hotel in Williamsburg. At the time, Jaar was a senior at the Lycée Français on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
So on the evening before the last day of school, he went to his family’s apartment in SoHo, changed out of his school uniform, took the subway to Brooklyn and played a set that ran strongly against the grain of the techno of the time. Back then, Jaar says, everything D.J.’s were playing was 128 beats per minute. The stuff he was doing was almost half that speed, with improvised piano haunting the tracks. And it really resonated with the crowd at the Marcy, which happened to be quite high. “Everybody was on ketamine,” Jaar recalls. “They all kept coming up to me and telling me how amazing my music was.”
You know, that techno-dance stuff is not my cup of tea, but I have no doubt its as valid as any other genre, and I had every intention of checking the kid's stuff out when I started reading the piece.
That said, I've come to the conclusion I really don't need to listen any music that sounds particularly good when you're on horse tranquilizers.