This week, Earhole is kicking off a new feature, Oddly Specific Favorites. There are so many amazing things to love in the world of music that sometimes the small stuff can get brushed under the table. So often, people don't talk about those tiny details that make you truly infatuated and obsessive. But music, like life, is all about those small things. Enjoy this new feature from the Earhole staff and share your oddly specific favorites with us on Twitter, Facebook, or the comments below.
Favorite Opening 17:32 of a BBC Essential Mix: Nicolas Jaar
Let me begin by saying that the BBC is unbelievably trill. A public broadcasting system dedicated to new and enthralling music that manages to see trends as they come while also setting some themselves? Yup, I will take it. One of my favorite features of the BBC is their Essential Mix series. On it, they invite electronic musicians to spend two hours mixing any music they want. Basically, they have two hours to bring the goods. It is an amazing opportunity to hear their sets, influences, unreleased music, and general sound at play. Some of the greatest electronic musicians of the past twenty years have hosted an Essential Mix. It is a mark of status to be invited to host the show. I mean, anybody who is anybody in the genre has done so. FlyLo, Bonobo, Above & Beyond, Disclosure, Jamie xx, Caribou, Todd Terje... The list goes on and on and on. If you had never been exposed to BBC Essential Mixes before, you are in for an incredible treat. One of the best ways to lose two hours before you know it.
So with all that incredible talent on show, just who hosted my favorite opening 17:32 of an Essential Mix? Nicolas Jaar, grand wizard of all things wizardry. You know stuff that just kind of makes you shake your head and mutter, "that dude (or chick) is on some other shit?" Stuff that you know you simply could not conceive of in a gajillion years? That is the first 17:32 of this Essential Mix. Most musician's seek to play bangers or show their range with deep cuts on their mixes... Not Nico Jaar. Nico Jaar creates a new world. A world that is strange, restrained in all the right ways, haunting, so nuanced and singular, and absolutely gorgeous. A world where playing a deep house beat over Jonny Greenwood's eerie There Will Be Blood strings makes sense. A world where music doesn't actually play until a minute has elapsed (Nico Jaar is responsible for me watching Twin Peaks). It is constructed with the pretension of something that is artistically unprecedented, but is somehow extremely accessible. It is like a film that manages to win a Sundance award and the Oscars.
I can distinctly recall the first time I heard this mix. I was working at an internship in Carrboro, North Carolina, on a rainy, non-descript day in March. I popped in my headphones to power me through the mindless work I had to do on my computer and figured I would give the mix a listen. You know... Something that I could idle to and get lost in while focusing on a task. I remember by the second minute, I resolved that I wasn't going to devalue this splendor with mere hearing. I had too many goosebumps for that. This was something I had to listen to. By the end of the first 17:32, I knew Nicolas Jaar was a genius. And nothing he has made since has changed that. Every now and then I come back to the mix, and even though I know what is coming next after countless listens, I am still as transfixed as ever.
So there goes my first Oddly Specific Favorite. My listening advice for this?
Mood: Pensive and willing to give your entire concentration to what you are listening to.
If you do those two things, I guarantee you will end it by shaking your head and mumbling, "that dude is on some other shit."