Darkside, the duo comprised of electronic virtuoso Nicolas Jaar and bassist Dave Harrington will play a Manchester show at the Ritz, one of only 4 UK tour dates. This performance will likely be anticipated with excitement and curiosity by electronic and experimental music lovers alike.
The excitement generated by anything attached to Jaar’s name is understandable; at 24 he already has his own record label, Clown and Sunset; the critically acclaimed Space is Only Noise and an impressive reputation for live sets.
The catalogue of work produced by Jaar and Harrington since the pair were introduced in their final year at Brown has signaled a departure for Jaar from the minimal techno of Space is Only Noise. Last year Darkside entered the mainstream consciousness by mixing the massively hyped Random Access Memories to an almost unrecognizable and other wordly form, riding the wave of publicity to generate interest for their own album Psychic.
Psychic is informed by a completely counter intuitive catalogue of influences. Jaar describes it as ‘the closest thing I’ve ever made to a rock and roll album’, think Pink Floyd meets CAN meet Villalobos via Santana. If Darkside live was a recital of the album, this would make an extraordinary show, however Jaar’s transformative live performances promise it will be something much, much more.
With Jaar it seems the only thing to expect is to be surprised. The strange minimalism of Space is Only Noise seems completely at odds with a sweaty, dancy sellout Warehouse Project show, as does a live band complete with saxophonist. Yet Jaar seamlessly adapted to mainstream dance for a highlight opening weekend performance last year. In a Pitchfork interview, Jaar described Harrington as the more experimental of the two, a promising suggestion for his live contribution. The Ritz is a fitting venue to highlight the departure from electronic music and I am curious about how Psychic will be warped to this environment. This March show is not to be missed.