Nicolas Jaar’s Playlist, Fairuz and Franz Zwartjes’ Tapes

By the end of 2017 Nicolas Jaar published on his social media a very personal 41 tracks Spotify playlist called Les Monades a Mère, including a big variety of genres and artists, including folk songs (like the Lebanese singer Fairuz), electronic, jazz, experimental (including Japanoise) and glitch. The notability of this Chilean music producer, mixing engineer and DJ (no longer based in NY) made the Playlist grow to 8.889 followers after a few days (data from 5th January, 2018). The fact that Nicolas Jaar curated and shared this playlist have made most of those before unknown songs for many people currently popular according to Spotify’s index of popularity.

However, what stroke me the most by listening to that playlist was the work of an artist called Franz Zwartjes, before marked as <1000 listeners on Spotify, now reaches almost 9000 listeners. After have been living in the Netherlands for a while, I could immediately understand Dutch speaking voices sampled with notable 60s synthesizer tunes. Franz Zwartjes Tapes 1 include 2 tracks, both of them with around 14 minutes, first is called Pt.1 and second Pt.2, as simple as that. The sound is very experimental and after decades it can still sound very contemporary when it comes to the analog vibes of synths and samples used by modern ways of recording and producing.

Franz Zwartjes was a Dutch film director (recently deceased in 18th November, 2017)  and those tapes represent his first ever recordings from his personal archive. Listening to those tracks can recall dreamy lysergic trips, which is very similar to his way of doing experimental cinema.  His artworks come from 1968 and were edited, directed and produced by himself. His last work was in 1991. But more importantly was that he also created and improvised the soundtracks that are contained in those tapes. Those tapes were collected and mixed by Franz Zwartjes himself and his archivist Stanley Schtinter and released on cassette a few years ago, luckily now it’s available on digital platforms, like Spotify and Youtube for a vast international audience and thanks to Nicolas Jaar for spreading this golden work with the world and his fans all around by that Spotify playlist.

RIP Franz Zwartjes, your work stays with us.

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