Courtesy of Clown and Sunset
Throughout the performance, titled 'From Scratch,' Jaar was joined by energetic saxophonist Will Epstein, guitarist Dave Harrington and angelic singer Sasha Spielberg, who is a classmate of Jaar's at Brown University and daughter of the renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
On a portion of the dome's ceiling, Pomp and Clout video artist Ryan Staake projected black-and-white found footage of woodsy outdoors layered by video from a live feed of the audience. The first chunk of the lengthy exhibition was largely a solo performance by Jaar, who created soundscapes out of feedback, recorded and looped rhythms and magnified spacey field recordings.
Crafting a five-hour improvised show can be a daunting creative endeavor, but in Jaar's case, the lengthy time span allotted freedom to explore the dome's acoustics and gradually (an understatement) build up to his more familiar sexy beats, like 'And I Say.'
Three hours into the show, another performer, choreographer Lizzie Feidelson, joined the trio of Epstein, Spielberg and Jaar. Under a glaring light on a small stage of her own a stone's throw from the musicians' hub, Feidelson extended each perfectly toned limb to the crowd, elegantly spun, paused and then began the cycle anew with similar fluid modern dance movements.
At a snail's pace, with the precision and concentration of a fine composer, Jaar added a new element, building the sound and aesthetic inside the dimly lit dome. Recognizable aspects of blues and trance collided with futuristic and melancholic eruptions of piano. It's obvious Jaar doesn't like to be pigeonholed into a certain genre.
'From Scratch' introduced the international crowd at PS1 to the new culture house Clown and Sunset Aesthetics, an extension of Jaar's Clown and Sunset Records, which he founded when he was just 19. Longtime friends Jaar and Noah Kraft partnered to create CSA and were determined to build a multimedia culture house that would run the gamut from fashion to dance to video.
"Often, an artist has a medium where they feel most comfortable, but what CSA does is give our artists the ability to work across mediums and collaborate without having to stick to just music, film, fashion or the like," Kraft tells Spinner.
The handsome duo met at Brown as freshmen and immediately clicked. From performing together on stage -- Kraft played live drums while Jaar DJed -- to having long conversations about their hopes for the future of art, they knew they had to do solidify their vision, one that was unlike anything they had seen before.
"From the very beginning, we both agreed this new company would not at all resemble a record label, as that made no sense in 2012," Kraft said. "This new entity would instead be diversified beyond music and encompass other mediums."
In March, CSA will host two launch events in L.A. and New York for the release of their first "object," CSA001, which is a compilation album featuring new music from Nico and other Clown and Sunset artists.
"It represents what we are trying to do as a company," Kraft says. "We feel that the way music is released is as important as the music itself, and our goal is that CSA001 demonstrates that ideal. We always want to consider the way in which people experience the content we release."
PS1 was their first demonstration of how that vision could work in a public space, and if it's just a taste of what's to come, then it's undeniable that CSA goes beyond a label or collaboration. It's paving the way for a new cultural conversation in the form of art house.