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Nicolás Jaar recorded the Cenizas LP between 2017 and 2019, but on the surface this record is rather more reserved than the album entitled 2017-2019 which Jaar released under his Against All Logic alias. Whereas the AAL music tended towards abrasive techno, Cenizas is a more cautious and somewhat serious-sounding affair.
Sonically the album brings together influences from contemporary classical music, moody electronics, experimental balladry, homely industrial music and much else besides. The textures here are constructed with great care, and beats take a backseat for much of Cenizas. When rhythms do appear they are either warped in a manner reminiscent of Arca's early work (‘Menysid’, ‘Mud’) or provide gently skittering pulses at the edges of low-lit avant-songs that recall James Blake (closing cut ‘Faith Made Of Silk’).
However, though this LP may never deliver the driving drums of an Against All Logic production, there is a shared sense of rupture and paranoia between Cenizas and Jaar’s alter-ego which distinguishes this album from his earlier eponymous releases such as Space Is Only Noise. Whereas Jaar used to allow the listener to sink into his evocative productions, here found sounds, jagged pieces of instrumentation and reverb-drenched voices frequently cut through the atmosphere. For instance, the drones of ‘Gocce’ are increasingly disrupted by assertive harp runs and percussive hits as the track goes on. These choices heighten the Arca comparisons as well as bringing the likes of Rabit, This Heat and Maxwell Sterling to mind.
Cenizas is a moody, evocative collection of avant-garde soundscapes from the endlessly fascinating Nicolás Jaar.