clown and sunset

Album Review: mst - Acid Pauli

In some ways a sufficient review of Acid Pauli's new album would simply read: "Pauli is friends with Nicolas Jaar and hangs about in Germany"

But whilst that does a pretty good job of describing what mst sounds like it doesn't really do Pauli's efforts any justice. This is undoubtedly electronic music cut from the same cloth as Jaar's - throbbing electronic IDM that can't bear to be contained by the confines of the dance floor. The German influence is also felt in the clean lines and focus of mst.

But this is Pauli's own album. For one he resists the urge to vocalise his thoughts. The echoey atmospherics of his work with alternative rock band the Notwist also rear their head. Whilst elements of this record feel like German techno it is simultaneously a messy tangle of clicks and crackles and clattering noise. So it is business on the sides but messy on top.

Much like Jaar's work Pauli's music suggests he is a better listen when playing his own music for himself than when constrained to the requirements of a crowd and a dance floor. And that makes perfect sense when you consider that Pauli's claimed ambition for this album was to create a dance record that reflected the the experience back into everyday life.

These pieces conjure a thrilling listen that act as a canvas for your own emotions, an atmospheric medium. The guttural samba of 'A Clone Is Not A Clone' gently moves through urban hustle and bustle with a gentle seeping paranoia that you'll miss if you aren't looking for it and 'Equation of Time' is could be the internal soundtrack for waiting for the bus or blowing bubbles in the bath. 'Eulogy for Eunice' peels out of the dark corner of the room like the first spit-spots of a rain storm that builds to a thunderstorm and innevitable torrential downpour. It is nine of the most atmospheric minutes ever pressed to record.

mst should put Pauli on the map but it also proves Clown & Sunset and Jaar still have much to offer.

mst is released on Clown & Sunset on 18 June.

EP Review: Darkside - Darkside

Nicolas Jaar still confuses the hell out of me. An artist influenced by Minimal IDM sounds like a snore rest on paper, but Jaar's hero Ricardo Villalobos is perhaps the only minimal producer who I can really see the artistry in. His music doesn't feel like it was only made for taking drugs to.

Space is Only Noise has moments of brilliance and I love it. But earlier this year seeing Jaar play live at Fabric was an unnerving experience on a couple of levels. Jaar benefits from a passionate following, the likes of which I haven't seen for a while: Fabric was packed out on a mid-week night (I think it was Wednesday?) and no-one was in any doubt that this was a star we were witnessing. There was no mild curiosity from inquisitive bloggers here, instead the room filled with wall-to-wall fever. Where did this excitement come from? And my bigger question was why - on record Jaar sounded great, atmospheric, emotional, experimental. In the flesh, sadly, it most sounded like this was just music made for taking drugs to.

Open air at Glastonbury was a different experience. There was more space, less dancing and the sky was lined with menacing storm clouds hanging threateningly overhead. It turned out to be much more fitting.

DARKSIDE - A1 by Clown & Sunset

Darkside is a side project from Jaar, collaborating with Dave Harrington. Together they focus on what Jaar does best - this is paranoid, dark pop music that blends live instrumentation with techno rhythms. Slow builds and breakdowns take the listener on a journey and, as a head piece, it's marvellous. Guitar work picks its way around nervous vocals and clattering synths. This feels part weirded out road trip with David Lynch, part cowboy blues, part Sunday morning maudlin come-down.

And so the conclusion to my confusion is this: I don't want to dance to Nicolas Jaar, I want to think to him. I want to experience the world filtered through his music coming out my headphones.

BP x

Darkside is out now on Nicolas Jaar's own Clown and Sunset label, you can order it on MP3 here.