Darkside
Psychic


4.5
superb

Review

by anatelier USER (23 Reviews)
February 26th, 2016 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A sentient appreciation of sound.

There’s an obvious sentiment to be drawn from the unambiguously titled Psychic. It stays with you. It finds a vacant part of your mind and nestles in, unimposing. It beckons for your return by way of association. Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington have created a sound that is above all else natural, to the point of defying the unworldly, manufactured fabric of electronic music. The minute attention they have afforded to the gaps and cavities is a reminder of the everyday ambience so often lost in transmission.

This cross-legged contemplation and appreciation of serenity is rare enough as it is, but rarer still is the minimalist musician who manages captivation. Let’s face it; ambient, minimal music is a genre that is more than susceptible to banality, easy to replicate whilst sacrificing meaning. Jaar has already proved his worth with his debut Space Is Only Noise, a certifiable how-to on conjuring intrigue from empty air, and even with his claim that the Darkside project is “the closest thing to rock & roll I’ve ever done”, it’s the deft sparsity and moderation of Psychic that keeps it burrowed in the brain.

Jaar’s ability to manipulate time is the backbone of Psychic. Revered opener ‘Golden Arrow’ is just shy of a quarter of the album’s duration at 11 minutes, and it sails by without drawing attention to the fact. Faint rumbles and wails converse with one another underneath an escalating organ pulse, like the gradual rising sun, to be met with the waking of wildlife – periodically interjecting cello, zipping synth tones, ghostly jitters and a sturdy, reticent beat. A momentary silence precedes the introduction of snare and hi-hat, and Harrington’s muted guitar enters covertly, hinting at the lengths this partnership could go to. Just as the percussion elements broaden and the wails become more pronounced, it slinks to its airy denouement; you’re left questioning if that was really 11 minutes and not 5.

Whilst there is a clear effort to stray from the sticky tropes of electronic music, Psychic doesn’t completely eliminate them. Part of its charm lies in the way it balances the familiar and the novel, and although anything that could be considered a hook is largely absent, that isn’t to say that Jaar and Harrington refuse to notch up the dials when necessary. ‘Heart’ begins with steadfast thumping, a pulsation through the murk providing a slope for Harrington’s guitar to earnestly slalom down, Jaar’s breathy falsetto the aiding wind. Against the littering of tribal hand claps and thuds that dance around ‘The Only Shrine I’ve Seen’ and the smoky lounge, eyes-shut jam turned subtle suffocation of closer ‘Metatron’, there’s no impugning the aims of Darkside. There’s an organic integrity to Psychic. It twines together styles that aren’t typically seen in each other’s company, and it is undeniably forward thinking, but the most endearing quality is that there’s no flagrancy. It’s not painted as a ‘strange bedfellows’ type of collaboration. It is the union of two musicians, far apart on the spectrum, bound by a mutual, inherent, and sentient appreciation of sound.



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user ratings (289)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
BigTuna (4.5)
Space come to earth....

Indielens (4)
Jaar doesn't dissappoint...

ronburgandy (4)
Dense, fascinating, but short of amazing...


Comments:Add a Comment 
anatelier
February 26th 2016


2145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahhh I love this album. Originally written October 2013.

Digging: Protus Opus - Screaming Eagle

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2016


18439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This was one of my favourite albums from 2013, a bit underrated on this site.



Great review, Jaar is a master at those minimal background atmospherics



A shame they folded the collaboration after this

anatelier
February 26th 2016


2145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers. I think anyone who rates this album would also rate James Joys & Peter Devlin's Devil, Repent: http://jamesjoys.bandcamp.com/album/devil-repent-lp

Bends time in much the same way. Our tastes seem to line up thus far, at least.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2016


18439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll check it out anatelier



Encouraging taste overlap so far, are you planning to keep regular reviews coming?

ArsMoriendi
February 26th 2016


22717 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not really my thing, but good review, pos.

Digging: Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

anatelier
February 26th 2016


2145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

At the moment I'm posting one review a day from my time writing for my own site. I've not written a fresh review since April of last year, but I could be swayed into dusting off the keyboard if I get a good reception. I just find it increasingly difficult to be on the pulse, especially because I've largely only written about stuff I've found on Bandcamp or whatever that hasn't got much of an audience.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2016


18439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well I chose to write a lot of reviews here for stuff that simply hadn't been reviewed but they tend to have a very limited audience - to get a bigger audience you have to focus on either new releases or bands/genres with established fan bases on the site. A controversial review might get people interested too.



To get featured at the top of the main page you usually have to review something new, even then it's quite random.



There's a lot of people here who scour bandcamp so you never know, sometimes an obscure album becomes a sput cult classic (George Clanton '100% Electronica' was the most recent example)

jtswope
February 26th 2016


5751 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is really good stuff. Didn't love it as much as Space Is Only Noise, but it's a bit of a different beast anyway. Freak, Go Home is a jam.

anatelier
February 26th 2016


2145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Not sure I'm emotionally prepared for the scrutiny of a featured review, but it can't hurt to keep an eye out on the new releases and see if I feel so inclined. I'll keep posting daily til I run out of stuff I don't wince at.



I think Paper Trails is my favourite cut of this.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2016


18439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think 'Greek Light' and 'Metatron' close the album perfectly too



Think it's just a case of wait for the perfect new release then give it a go, if the writing style is in the same vein as the ones you've posted so far you won't get any abuse even if people disagree with your take/rating :D



davidwave4
February 26th 2016


92 Comments


Really good review. I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who felt that time got all weird when I first heard this album.

JamieTwort
February 27th 2016


26985 Comments


Nice review.

I've been meaning to pick this up pretty much since it came out but for some reason I've never got around to it.

TheWrenKing
February 27th 2016


1674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

reviewing the random shit you find on bandcamp is the best way to go

adr
February 27th 2016


11950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty decent

chinesewhispers
February 27th 2016


4757 Comments


pretty fuckin good

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2016


18439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The return of CW :D

chinesewhispers
February 27th 2016


4757 Comments


Yuh see you got contrib status gj brah

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2016


18439 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Couldn't have done it without you showing me the ropes way back bro

chinesewhispers
February 27th 2016


4757 Comments


Aw well yeah no prob

Might try to write a review myself fairly soon

Chortles
April 5th 2017


21085 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

golden arrow is so good



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