Sink into the contemplative solo debut
of Darkside's Dave Harrington
Before This There Was One Heart But A Thousand Thoughts
Frequent listeners to the Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington project Darkside, either from its deconstructed retelling of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories or its brilliant 2013 debut LP, Psychic for Jaar's Other People imprint, will be well versed in the sprawling, asymmetrical compositions that make up Before This There Was One Heart But A Thousand Thoughts, the debut solo EP from Harrington.
A multi-instrumentalist with a drive to create meandering experimental works that easily keeps pace with Jaar, Harrington establishes himself as an equal voice here, no longer operating in the shadows the press-adored Jaar. That's not to say that Jaar doesn't deserve the praise so typically heaped upon him, it's to say how nice it is to see an artist like Harrington (or Valentin Stip, who we interviewed recently) getting the space to shine.
And on this existential and elaborately titled EP, Harrington makes keen use of this space. A series of interconnected compositions split across two tracks, the first sequence almost reassures listeners of its direct association to Darkside with soothing layers of echoing guitar and accompanying strokes of cosmic atmospherics. Giving way to solo, walking upright bass, and then fractals of plucked guitar, decaying cords, and distorted noise, it's a first act that's beautiful in its dissonance.
Act two proceeds under darker auspices, with the clamor or arhythmic drums, ominous static fuzz, and a generally brooding undertone before washing out to reveal a mechanical heartbeat—the EP's first. The limping chug carries us through to an almost celtic finale, a crescendo of harmonious strings and a fiddle glowing in the sunset of a singularly complex and emotional work that may be Harrington's debt solo release, but is hardly a first. It's just the latest from a talent that could never be mistaken for a newbie.
Dave Harrington's Before This There Was One Heart But A Thousand Thoughts is out June 8 on Other People.