Nicolas Jaar – Nymphs III [EP]

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A.k.a. the best EP of 2015. Not even angry at the lack of critical attention: EPs have always gotten the short end of the stick because they’re shorter; Pitchfork didn’t bother reviewing either of Nicolas Jaar’s EPs released this year (though they at least awarded Nymphs II’s “The Three Sides of Audrey and Why She’s Alone Now” Best New Track); conversely, Resident Advisor reviewed Nymphs II and didn’t touch this one (Why not?). Just, surprised is all: I thought we were all supposed to love Nicolas Jaar and Darkside? Especially these two sites? (Not like other publications did better: Googling “Nicolas Jaar Nymphs III Review” yields less correct hits than Googling myself.)

The short version: “Swim” is 13 minutes that feel like 4; “Mistress” is 4 minutes that covers an eternity. The long version: “Swim” has a subtle synth melody in the background, bubbling and bopping around while the drums gradually get louder and louder. It culminates in the epic buildup of murmuring ghosts before savage drums (at the 11:10 mark) shift the song towards its multi-layered conclusion (whereas you’d think it would just patter out after that, or maybe even just end). “Mistress” is even better: an ambient track built out of twinkling piano, bubbling synths, and large doses of atmosphere from backward loops to the sound of piano pedal being pressed; if “Swim” is slowly walking into the ocean, then “Mistress” is calmly lying on the ocean floor, listening to the lighter (but not necessarily gentler), alien sounds of the new environment.

I guess Nicolas Jaar’ll have to repackage the “Nymphs” series into a compilation so publications who didn’t bother the first time get a second change. I hope so: this deserves it.

A

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