Acclaimed electronic producer Nicolas Jaar made his name once he slowed down or entirely erased his music’s clubby beats, deciding to favor wildly shape-shifting, richly textured atmospheric sounds on his 2011 album, Silence Is Only Noise
. And he reaches further in Darkside, a lush duo project with multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington. On last year’s Psychic
(Matador) the pair creates a kind of ambient psychedelia, slathering the amorphous structures of Jaar’s earlier work with muted guitars, muted beats, muted washes of electronics, and soulful falsetto singing—it’s some of the best headphones listening of 2013. Darkside (they insist the name isn’t a nod to Pink Floyd) build what sound like extended collages of interstitial music—Jaar and Harrington pretty much dispense with conventional forms, developing their pieces using multilayered flurries of melody and floating guitar lines, which coalesce into dense, cloudlike formations that carry the listener away with them. Though I still cringe at the faux blues-rock guitar that opens “Paper Trails,”
which sounds like something cribbed from a Mark Knopfler record, Psychic
has been my favorite ear candy for the past month or two. I don’t really remember much about this ethereal record after it ends, but it’s not really about songs—it’s about immersion. This show is part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival. —Peter Margasak High Water opens.