If you’re waiting for the next great rock band, don’t turn away from groups with a DJ—as Nicolas Jaar displays on the debut EP by his latest project, Darkside, a laptop might be just what is needed to give new life to the blues. Together with Brooklyn artist Dave Harrington, Jaar manipulates the electric twang of a guitar and deep, stomping beats into brooding and smoky blues-electronica on the three-track Darkside EP.
The tracks—”A1,” “A2″ and “A3″—flow into one another and use the same sonic themes, giving the impression that they are really three parts of one long song. Luckily, the tracks have enough meat and grit to satisfy well beyond the EP’s 15 minutes: As Darkside demonstrated at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg last week, the Darkside has enough sonic nutrition to last an hour. Harrington’s arid guitar wobbles over Jaar’s snapping, blunted beats and under his affected falsetto, creating a soup of noise both cavernous and powerful. Jaar even mixes in the ambient effects he favored on his album Space Is Only Noise, adding a touch of his personal style to Darkside’s opaque blues beats.
Unlike Space Is Only Noise, the Darkside EP is alive with sound. While tracks from his debut album, like “Etre” and “Sunflower,” starve themselves on a downward-gazing diet of ambient noise and lonely keys, Darkside’s EP gorges itself on heavy, plodding beats, smoldering guitars, low-churning bass and electronic effects.