Instrumental Insight • Jaro

Age: 20-something • Neighborhood: Humboldt Park • Follow: Twitter // SoundCloud

Every week since November, I've been documenting the many talented producers that reside throughout Chicago as part of the Instrumental Insight column. One name who has been continually impressing and making me scratch my head (and move my feet) is Jaro. One fourth of the group Beach Jesus, Jaro spent 2015 producing almost exclusively for vocalists Chandy and Jommis. After releasing Beach Jesus' full-length Two Weeks Vacation last summer and following up with their EP, This Time Last Year, earlier this year, the gang decided to focus on solo material before returning to more Beach. This led to Chandy crafting a solo EP, ULTRAFRAGOLA, one that we will see released tomorrow. This also led to Jaro fully producing his own debut EP, La Rouge.

Full of original instrumentation (guitars, keys) and absent of samples (other than voices), Jaro enlisted numerous vocal talents, all from Chicago, to slide through to his Humboldt Park house to record. The list includes Sean Deaux (of THEMpeople), Aura (of Iris Temple), Cae Jones (a frequent collaborator), Elias Abid (a frequent collaborator), and yes, Beach Jesus. Half hip-hop, half atmospheric dance music, half emotional unpredictability, La Rouge is a fine showcase of a talented producer, one best known for his work as part of a quartet, but one finally shining on his own with this new EP. 

Look closely at the SoundCloud descriptions, the static-filled piano interludes, the throwback, scatterbrain artwork (courtesy of adolescence and WorkTheAngle). The entire aesthetic of this project gives off the feel of a black and white movie, an orchestra playing for a silent film, a slow motion segment lost in 1908. This is already a fine addition to an already strong portfolio of singles and projects. 

I considered adding Jaro to this column when he released “Tangerine” with Chandy and Cae Jones earlier this year. I considered adding him after releasing his two “remix” tracks “Unlike You” and “Be My Love”, but it makes so much more sense to add him to this list of talented acts in Chicago now that he has an impressive and concise project to show the world. Hopefully we hear much more like this from Jaro as 2016 continues onward. 

I once crossed paths
with a strange, enthralled fellow.
The sky bled rouge,
and the earth scorned black.
Though time has passed,
when we spoke of things;
of shoes and ships,
lovers, and quipped
of death and sorrow,
and life after the morrow ­­
he left with only this:

”and even in
your darkest hour,
there will always be light,
don’t lose sight of...-“
— Jaro