You have one guess—one guess—as to which artist Wolf And Lamb wrangled as its special surprise guest at the label’s party at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in New York on March 31. If you didn’t guess Nicolas Jaar….well, then, who did you guess?
Although it was unsurprising to find Nico mixing beats at a party thrown by his home label, it was surprising to find that no one was there to see it. When Nico took the stage around 11 p.m., the Music Hall was host to just a smattering of drink-holding party guests scattered around the main floor. Jaar seemed entirely unfazed—”totes dgaf,” one might say—and almost aloof as he mixed for the steadily growing crowd, occasionally leaving the booth altogether to chat with assorted VIP guests who roamed the stage.
At his hours-long audio-visual set at MoMA PS1 in February, Jaar played an assortment of sounds that, no matter how much they varied, were united by certain Jaarish elements: bouncing and snapping beats, melancholy piano keys, snug bass notes. This past weekend, the warm and buoyant beats of his signature sound were absent: Nico’s new trick was to meddle with the sound by toggling it between stereo and mono and making the volume zoom from loud to quiet.
While the sounds themselves may have been different from anything heard on Space Is Only Noise or his project Darkside, Nico’s set was very obviously his own; it was just a DJ set and not his own A/V experiment. If you’ve heard one or two of his DJ sets, you know he likes a certain kind of hip-hop, like the Alchemist. Throughout the night he unleashed a collection of groovetastic pool party tunes, which is probably fitting for a party thrown by a label with a big Miami presence—don’t Wolf And Lamb and Soul Clap remind you of a pool party? Here’s what I mean by “pool party tunes”: Jaar’s choices ranged from Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” to Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” (think “Uh huh, this my shit” looped a trillion billion times over a soul/funk rhythm and woo girls going off) to Tweet’s “Oops (Oh My)” played over such a fast-paced, bass-heavy garage beat that it might have been a track on DVA‘s latest album.
While Wolf And Lamb’s natural environment might be a pool party, the label certainly felt at home at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg. The event had a family affair feeling about it, with friends milling around the stage and ducking toward the booth to chat with a headphones-less Nico or hand him a drink. It was as if they had all been sitting around a pool in Miami and someone suggested, “Well, how about we throw a dance party in Brooklyn next weekend?”