XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Paper Trails” by Darkside (playing Union Transfer on February 6th)

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Photo by Jed DeMoss
Photo by Jed DeMoss

Darkside is a collaboration between electronic musician Nicolas Jaar and Brooklyn guitarist Dave Harrington. The duo met when they were attending Brown University and they recently released their debut album, Psychic. The album has its antecedent in works by krautrockers Can, psychrockers Pink Floyd and ambient-rocker Brian Eno, yet it has undertones of dark blues and shadowy dance music.

The New York Times recently profiled Jaar, in the Times magazine article, A Little Ethiopian Jazz With Your Techo?/. Author Wm. Ferguson wrote:

Jaar’s gift is for combining floor-filling club music and so-called difficult sounds: a techno beat with a loop of what seems to be Ethiopian jazz; a soulful bass line overlaid with light industrial glitches.

Ferguson continues:

After a long European tour this summer, Jaar found himself increasingly connecting with the improvisations of his guitarist, Dave Harrington. During down time between shows, Jaar and Harrington would repair to a small studio in Paris and record their open-ended sessions. Jaar would then take the music and chop and distort it — out of hours of jamming, he might fixate on a single guitar phrase to build a song. The resulting music sounded vaguely like the soundtrack to a lost David Lynch sci-fi movie. Much to their surprise, Harrington and Jaar realized that they had actually formed a band, which they named Darkside. And while both insist that the name in no way references Pink Floyd, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that Darkside’s album, “Psychic,” recalls “The Dark Side of the Moon” — not the songs, just those spacey passages between them.

The must watch video for “Paper Trails” below, captures the band’s uncompromising, experimental, and occasionally funky sound.

Darkside play Union Transfer on Tuesday, February 6th. Go here for tickets.

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