The opening seconds of Space is Only Noise (TMT Review), Nicolas Jaar’s very good 2010 LP, is an achievement in scene setting. Before any music kicks in, we’re treated to over a minute of sea sounds and deep-voiced soliloquy. The effect is an invocation of a beach so calm it must be overcast, a body in the waves, and a gray minimalism that feels related to the black and white pallet of Italian neo-realist film, or something of the like.
For these reasons, this video for “Materials,” a track from the special edition of SION, is a little glossier than one might expect. That’s not to say the video’s aesthetic is clean, per se, or that it bucks Jaar’s now signature minimalism, but rather to point out that the nondescript location, the blank white brick walls, the cement floor, the squalid clowns, are presented through a filter with more sheen and less grit than fans might naturally associate with the music. Even so, “Materials” certainly establishes its own flavor, which might be described (with only half a smirk and with full pleasure) as saccharine Cirque du Solei reformed back to its more raw and uncanny roots. The dropped apple stands out as a visual highlight, as does the fleeting image of the little girl presenting her contorted tongue sideways as a bubblegum-colored shred.
“Materials” was directed by Pondr, a partnership between TJ O’Grady-Peyton and David Magnier. As Jaar’s music continues to draw attention and collaborations, the potential for his newly established Clown and Sunset Aesthetics project looks more and more colossal and increasingly promising. [via Fact]