Following the breakout success of his confounding debut full-length, 2011's Space Is Only Noise, Nicolas Jaar began releasing a series of singles titled Nymphs. The first appeared on Jaar's own Clown & Sunset label in 2011, while the rest appeared in 2015; II and III arrived on successor imprint Other People, and IV finally appeared as a digital single on Belgian dance institute R&S. The entire series was eventually compiled as a triple-LP issued by R&S in early 2019.
As a whole, the album is a bit more experimental than the abstract pop of Space Is Only Noise, but it's generally not as dance-oriented as Jaar's early material, or his work as A.A.L. (Against All Logic). While the collection functions as a full listening experience, it makes sense that the singles were released individually, as they feel like mini-epics unto themselves. Typically exceeding five minutes each, the tracks form, build, and dissolve at their own will, progressing through blurry melodies and microscopic glitches as well as unexpected shifts. Jaar's own manipulated vocals are threaded throughout the prickly IDM beats of "Don't Break My Love" before a ghostly soul sample murmurs the song's title near the end. A steady beat emerges for part of "No One Is Looking at U," but it seems to guide down a corridor of disembodied voices and drowned memories rather than light up a dancefloor. The centerpiece is unquestionably the 13-minute techno odyssey "Swim," which contains banging beats as well as increasingly urgent melodies, ending up with Jaar's dreamy, floating vocals. "Mistress" is mainly solemn pianos surrounded by bubbling effects, similar to the Pomegranates soundtrack Jaar released in 2015. Ending the release is "Took Me Out," a song which has been making the rounds since 2013 but wasn't previously released. Interlaced with radio static and wispy vocals, the mysterious song hits its stride midway through, when a catchy R&B vocal joins a thumping beat. Jaar's music generally takes numerous listens to decipher and interpret, and even several years after these tracks first appeared, they still seem like aural puzzles. While not always accessible, Nymphs contains some of Jaar's best and most innovative work.
|A1||Don't Break My Love||6:11|
|A2||Why Didn't You Save Me||5:00|
|B1||The Three Sides Of Audrey And Why She's All Alone Now||7:30|
|B2||No One Is Looking At U||7:49|
|E2||Took Me Out||4:45|
|F1||I Know What U Did||11:09|