Clash takes a look at the dance masters who smashed the last twelve months with their addictive bass manoeuvres as well as matching up the new generation of likeminded acolytes.
MASTER: Nicolas Jaar
Hear Nicolas Jaar's 'Darkside A1' above.
If 2011 saw Chilean impresario Nico Jaar be widely lauded as the year’s best electronic producer, then 2012 simply witnessed him get even better.
Nailing his epic Roundhouse showcase in January before softly killing capacity crowds at Sonar, SXSW, Dimensions and Pitchfork, his malleable, spacious and dusty wonk has felt limitless.
Launching his Clown And Sunset label onto his new ‘prism’ format, introducing us to his more guitar-led Darkside project, unleashing his sidekick Acid Pauli’s incredible album, as well as, er, graduating from college, he’s made short shrift of this emotional year in music.
Jaar now looks culturally weaponised, possessed by a musical bow thronging with yet more strings with every arrow deployed. His band includes Acid Pauli, AKA Console, who alongside Jaar, guitarist Dave Harrington and saxaphonist Will Epstein develop non-denominated thrums, pops, dubs, crackles and lower level hertz murmurs which rise into an insidious crescendo before hurtling dramatically into textured bass drops.
Rarely has a re-contextualisation of minimalism been so arresting. And so as the title of his heart-breaking piano ode from this year urges us: ‘Encore’.
BEST BIT: The hurtling void of expectation before the bass kicks in over his delirious piano melody on ‘Encore’.
ACOLYTE: Acid Pauli
As equally rustic and possessed by the same pastoral vibe as his band mate Nicolas Jaar, Gretschmann’s compositions are pensive, thoughtful and off-kilter. Organic sounds rub irrationally against each other before guiding us out on a drunken Balkan flail around assorted vodka-drenched fields.
It’s perhaps more playful at points though. Or more inebriated. ‘Equation Of Time’ is a woozy, cabaret of hip-hop where the waiter’s been spiking the Pimms, or a wonky stroll around a circus where the circus master been stealing substances, literally from the horse’s mouth. Acid Pauli is a wobbly master who equally juggles air as well as he does dark matter.
BEST BIT: ‘Requiem For A Loop’ is a skanky, bawdy gypsy ode, like a delirious Riva Starr playing drunken hopscotch in Berlin’s Volkspark with Beirut’s Zach Condon.