Jaar and Harrington first met while they were both students at Brown University. Harrington was recommended to Jaar by frequent collaborator Will Epstein when he was looking for a third musician for his live band, with the three subsequently touring together to support Jaar’s 2011 album Space Is Only Noise. Darkside first formed during a Berlin stop on this tour. Jaar and Harrington were writing in their hotel room together when their converter plug popped, filling their room with smoke and forcing them to finish the song in the hallway on a laptop. Upon returning to New York, they continued to write together, developing their sound in their Brooklyn studio.
Their first release as Darkside, the three-song Darkside EP, was released on November 17, 2011 via Clown & Sunset. It was well received critically, receiving positive reviews from several publications including The Fader and Resident Advisor, as well as an 8.0 from Pitchfork. Jaar has described the project as blues-oriented and more guitar influenced than his previous work, stating in an interview with i-D magazine that Darkside is “the closest thing to rock & roll I’ve ever done.” Stereogum has described the duo’s sound as “dubbed-out jazzbo junkyard fuzz.”
The act debuted their live show in December 2011 to a sold out crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg, stretching their three-song EP out to an hour long set. They also played at the 2012 SXSW festival. Pitchfork has credited the project with allowing Jaar to transition forward into a “proggier and more narcotic-sounding” space while still maintaining his unique aesthetic, in part due to Harrington’s influence. The Fader also noted Harrington’s contributions, stating that he “adds weight” to Jaar’s signature “airy” sound. Darkside released their first music video in May 2012 for “A1”, which was directed by Ryan Staake of Pomp&Clout and Clown & Sunset Aesthetics.
The duo released their second collaboration Random Access Memories Memories on June 21, 2013. The project, which was uploaded to a SoundCloud account under the pseudonym DaftSide, is a remix of Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories in its entirety. The remix album received positive reviews from critics and was described as “a dark, nearly industrial romp through a disjointed abandoned disco” by Death and Taxes. Pitchfork stated that the release was “a far greater work than standard remix albums” and praised the duo for their ability to balance originality and playfulness: “At times they’re looking for nuances in the original, small threads they can pick up and take somewhere else. Elsewhere they’re just having fun, acting on instincts, never over-awed by the material.” Sasha Frere-Jones listed the project as one of the “Best Albums of 2013” in his annual New Yorker writeup.
Darkside’s debut album Psychic was released on October 4, 2013. The album was recorded over the course of two years between Jaar’s home in New York City, Harrington’s family barn in Upstate New York, and a space in Paris where they would stay between tours. The band announced the album’s completion on August 20, 2013, with Jaar and Harrington inviting fans via Facebook and Twitter to listen to the album with them at a small venue on New York’s Lower East Side. The band had to do two listening sessions to accommodate all of the people who showed up.
“Golden Arrow”, the album’s first song, was made available as a free download on August 23, 2013 via the band’s website and Jaar’s label Other People. The band originally billed the song as “the first 11 minutes of the DARKSIDE album” in posts, however, its title was revealed in a subsequent Pitchfork review, where the song was also named Best New Track. Spin also gave the track a positive review, describing the song as “11 minutes of instrumental excellence.”
On 17th August 2014, the group announced they were “coming to an end, for now” before they were to play their last show on September 12th at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.
Enjoy this full set… i hope they return soon to delight us with their enigmatic sounds.