Album Review: Against All Logic - 2017 - 2019

Nicolar Jaar moves into new territory with this Against All Logic album.
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Nicolas Jaar press photo

Nicolas Jaar press photo

Nicolas Jaar’s Against All Logic alias is no longer a secret. He debuted his first full-length project with it in 2018 titled 2012-2017 and it created quite a buzz for the rest of the year. Now whenever he puts out a new Against All Logic project, it is a major music event. Today, he has released a new album 2017-2019.

To get better context about this record, it is important to take stock of what has happened with Jaar over the past couple of years. He released 2012-2017, which was quite different from the normal, leftfield boundary-pushing electronic music we expected from Jaar. It still had that spirit, but ground itself in disco and playful house. It was one of the easiest listening projects we have ever gotten from Jaar. Then in the past year he helped produce fka Twigs album Magdalene, which then set up his EP release last week Illusions Of Shameless Abundance.

As one would expect from Jaar, there wasn’t much of a marketing campaign, just the new music. We got the first hint at something new last week with the frenetic, experimental and jarring EP Illusions Of Shameless Abundance, which featured fka Twigs, Estado Unido and Lydia Lunch, who is also on this new album.

The album starts not too dissimilar from his last album with the fun and danceable “Fantasy” with chopped and distorted vocal samples from Beyoncé and Sean Paul’s “Baby Boy.” This carries on into the mellow and melodic “If Loving You Was Wrong.”

The album makes a strong switch to some frenetic percussion as eerie synths glide overtop before it takes a breather with an ambient break before the percussion takes over again. We know that this album is going to be a bit different on “If You Can't Do It Good, Do It Hard” as Lydia Lunch growls "Because if you can't beat 'em, kill 'em / If you can't kill 'em, fuck 'em," before she repeats the title over and over.

He continues down that path with a blend of electro-saturated techno with trance on “Deeeeeefers.” But the album continues to morph into new shapes. “Faith” stays grounded in soft and soothing bells, synths and pads, while “Penny” stays in a similar lane with blissful synths and a shaking kick drum. The album ends in a similar fashion on “You (forever).”

The album titles for these Against All Logic albums offer clues into the thinking of Jaar. The first 2012-2017 showcased his love for disco and house that wasn’t always present in his other work, but was still being cultivated for the Against All Logic alias.

Then over the past three years things shifted. His EP released last week was hard and abrasive, which leant me to believe that would continue on this album. 2017-2019 has some of the roots in house and soul, but it is very different from his two earlier projects. There are moments of chugging electro and drone music on tracks like “Alarm” or “If You Can't Do It Good, Do It Hard.” Samples are still an important part of this record as he takes a very rare and likely difficult-to-clear Beyoncé song and chops it up on “Fantasy." However, the LP settles into easy-listening ambient house for a good portion that can be found in some Nicolas Jaar productions, but remains unique to this portion of Against All Logic.

There is growth to each successive project, which is a good sign for Jaar. Some of his own productions can push boundaries a little more, but this still feels like he is expanding in different directions.

Stream the record below and get your copy wherever you do that.

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