Against All Logic - '2017-2019' Album Review
Updated: Mar 8
By Danny Dodds
Nicolas Jaar's alter-ego A.A.L (Against All Logic) was first used in 2018 as a reaction against the more ambient and spacey sounds he was becoming known for after his 2016 album Sirens. With the album 2012-2017, Jaar was clearly using the Against All Logic moniker to create some more upbeat, rhythmic and house-inspired jams as he crafted one of the best albums of the year and honestly one of the best electronic albums of the decade. Going into 2020, it became clear that Nicolas Jaar has managed to keep himself busy co-producing FKA Twigs' phenomenal latest album Magdalene but it started to become less and less clear what A.A.L's standing in Jaar's discography was. It became very easy to worry that 2012-2017 was just intended to be a one-off venture into the world of deep house until out of the blue, Jaar announced a new Against All Logic album with an EP to back it up. Fresh off of the FKA Twigs wave, 2017-2019 is grimier, heavier and more industrial then his debut and yet somehow manages to maintain a level of groove that is unmatched by modern producing standards.
One of the primary characteristics of Against All Logic's weird appeal is in his use of scattered and chaotic percussion that on his previous album always felt raw and unfiltered, something that paired perfectly alongside his dreamy synths and crackling samples. On 2017-2019, this couldn't be farther from the truth, as every single kick and snare feels like it was filtered through a faulty USB port, with frequent peaking and glitching in the audio mix. The effect of this is a much more industrial and almost noise-inspired look at modern electronic, taking sub-genres of plunderphonics and deep house to their most aggressive and warped. The first track 'Fantasy' is a masterclass in this as he flips a Beyoncé sample on its head and places it in a melting pot with some crispy drums and a warm synth backing. The whole track is disorientating as you have the glitchy and distorted drums paired with the encompassing and bright synth combining some of the more straight-forward sounds of his last project with this new industrial direction he found in FKA Twigs.
While his previous album 2012-2017 still stands, in my opinion, as one of the best electronic albums of the last decade, one thing it lacked was variety as there was a clear and set formula Jaar constructed for A.A.L to follow, one that he promptly breaks on 2017-2019. While the sampling and the infectious rhythms carry over from his debut, surprises come thick and fast on 2017-2019 starting with the energetic and wild 'With An Addict' that enters the Jaar discography with an insane percussion lead that seems inspired by Aphex Twin's latest EP with its electric energy. Another surprised packed into this sucker punch of an album is its unrelenting middle section and the troublesome trio of tracks 'If You Can't Do It Good, Do It Hard,', 'Alarm' and 'Deeeeeeefers' all of which flow into each other to create a masterpiece of distortion and energy.
The music Against All Logic presents on 2017-2019 is matched only by his previous album, as Jaar proves he is at the apex of the electronic music scene. The sounds on 2017-2019 are glitchier and wilder than before as Nicolas Jaar doubles down on the sinister energy he has been developing with Against All Logic and while this new, highly-cursed direction may very easily put off some fans, it is exactly what I wanted to hear from him.
Listen to the album below: