Experimental dance music producer Nicolas Jaar and his touring guitarist Dave Harrington formed Darkside, a band that created a dreamy mélange of psychedelia, art rock, house, and other genres. The duo received much acclaim for their 2013 full-length debut, Psychic, as well as their intense, sprawling concerts, which were documented on releases such as Psychic Live July 17 2014. In 2021, they released their second studio album Spiral.
The two musicians met while they were studying at Brown University. Harrington joined Jaar’s live band, and they toured in support of Space Is Only Noise, Jaar’s 2011 breakthrough album. The duo formed Darkside while on tour, and released a self-titled EP on the Clown and Sunset label in 2011. It contained three slow, hypnotic, and untitled grooves featuring slivers of Jaar’s falsetto and Harrington’s slightly bluesy flecks of guitar. The duo made their live debut that December at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. In 2013, the duo used the pseudonym Daftside and produced Random Access Memories Memories, a full reconstruction of Daft Punk’s fourth studio album.
October 2013 saw the release of Darkside’s full-length album Psychic on Jaar’s Other People label in conjunction with indie stalwarts Matador. The record moved the project’s sound forward drastically from their earlier work into more compositional song structures. However, they expanded these tracks into lengthy epics for their concerts, and gained a reputation as a stellar live act. The duo spent much of 2014 touring, but after releasing two songs (“What They Say” and “Gone Too Soon”) on the Other People label compilation Work, Darkside played a final show at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple and went on an indefinite hiatus. Their remix of St. Vincent’s “Digital Witness” and a concert DVD, Psychic Live, were both released in 2015. Psychic Live July 17 2014, a recording of a different gig from the same year, was issued in 2020. The duo reconvened in 2018, renting an apartment in New Jersey to begin writing their second full-length. They captured six of the tracks during that initial week of writing, while the rest of it emerged more sporadically over the next two years. Ultimately titled Spiral, the album was released in July of 2021. ~ Andy Kellman & Paul Simpson