Darkside. A collaboration of two contrasting talents: Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington; a pairing who have never justified a title so convincingly. This is well and truly the dark side of electronic music. It has been almost 3 long years since Jaar’s debut album ‘Space Is Only Noise’, a testament to the aptitude and abstract nature of the young American-Chilean’s compositions. But with the release of Darkside’s ‘Psychic’ there shows no signs of this bizarre and genuinely unique sound slowing down.
The opening track ‘Golden Arrow’ is an intense 11 minute build-up of eerie electronic synths and echoed drones. A slow dismembering of what we all know electronica to be, but a sincerely positive insight into the workings of these two acumens all the same. It isn’t until 4 minutes into this track that we hear the influence of Dave Harrington’s guitar riffs, (replicating that of Daft Punk's most recent album), and the consistent heart-beat like bass that promotes the space-rock overlay. There’s no wonder the two were able to so successfully remix and compliment ‘Random Access Memories’. As we progress through the album, ‘Paper Trails’ subjects us to bellowing vocals of Jaar that reverberate every bone in the body into a deep state of groove, a tone that can only be heard in his workings, and although this album and voice may very much lack that dance-party/drug-fuelled euphoria, it is very much affluent in its own right. Expressing what it really means to be perfectly chilled. ‘The Only Shrine I’ve Seen’ explores a different aspect to the album, with the tempo noticeably increasing, we hear a more frantic and inaudible vocal line and a more funky injection of guitar, a nice, refreshing alarm. Of course though, these tracks are still not without their dark and mysterious bass lines which maintain that super-natural theme.
The final track on ‘Psychic’, ‘Metatron’ concludes what I believe to be the main aim of this album, which is to strike a perfect balance between the digital and acoustic sides of percussion and combine them to make an LP of pure originality. And although ‘Psychic’ is a definite acquired taste, I sincerely recommend a listen to what I can only imagine as an intense ride through the expanses of space.
Words: Sam Reevey