Album Review: Nerve Live in Europe

Following a series of studio EPs that continued to expand and refine an electronic style executed by humans, Jojo Mayer and Nerve return with a much-anticipated album of performances captured during a 2014 European tour. The music is beautifully recorded, with no sequencers, no backing tracks, and no overdubs—just Mayer subdividing time on old-school jungle workouts (“Fauxtek”) and slower, circular dirges where the drummer attacks his cymbals and a trashy aux snare with precision and fire (“Can You Hear They’re Dreaming”?). Chops are flying (check out the solo in “7even”), but not to the detriment of the authentic clubby vibe created by the group, essentially a keys/bass/drums trio plus a soundman doing real-time effects processing. The reference points include dubstep, house, and IDM/EDM, but the skill with which Mayer throws down the countless beats and fills here points toward an exciting and organic future for live electronica. A band at the top of its own game. (

Ilya Stemkovsky