Nicolás Jaar 'Cenizas' Album Review

Nicolás Jaar’s third studio album is a deep dive into the mysterious unknown of a soulless body. Cenizas, which is defined as “ashes” in Spanish, travels into dark territories that most electronic producers don’t explore. 

The Chilean-American artist creates an atmospheric underground of experimental sounds and textures that helps to build a haunting outlook on the afterlife. At times it’s uncomfortable, often times it questions the intentions of the producer, but that’s what allows listeners to come back to the project. With many questions left unanswered, the sense of returning back to search for hidden clues to solve the unsolved mystery makes each listen as necessary as the first.

Satisfied with the alarming, deconstructed sounds that are thrown together to provide a disjointed effect, Nicolás Jaar invokes an intimate experience with the listener and the surroundings. At the shifting point of the project, he adds a woozy effect with his vocal delivery attempt. While Jaar’s singing only makes an appearance on quite a few of the tracks, it bridges the gaps to tell a story that the instrumentation only merely tells.

Minimalistic in-charge, he composes a farewell. Utilizing shock-and-awe to create a horrifying picture book of his own American Horror Story, he tests the limits of listeners to see if they’re brave enough to commit with baring with the full experience, rather than signing off when things start to progress. On “Sunder”, Jaar channels ambient and mournful sounds. Referencing prophets, Jaar makes clear of where he traces the inspiration to what he’s trying to convey.

The theme that surrounds the project is rather urgent, a sudden cry for help and a path to escape the darkness. Suddenly, there’s glimpses of hope that becomes apparent on the closing track “Faith Made of Silk”, which sets the pace for his next release Telas.

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