Earlier this year, Darkside—the spacey, penetrating collaboration between Nicolas Jaar and guitarist Dave Harrington—sat down with the author Daniel Pinchbeck to talk about aliens, channeling, and other ideas that exist outside the periphery of what most people would consider good dinner conversation. At one point, Pinchbeck, whose experiences with psychedelic drugs are matter not only of public record but professional pride, asks Jaar about his own experiences with the shadow world. Jaar answers that he’s never taken drugs—“just music”—and he goes on to explain that Darkside named their first album Psychic because they felt as though to make the music that they needed to become mediums, bodies through which other beings spoke. “I feel like psychic shops in America symbolize so many things about today’s culture,” Jaar continues. “The first is that your future is turned into a commodity. But deeper than that, all of these shops are the psychics’ actual homes. They live there. This is their front room. When they close the drapes they have dinner there, amidst these crystal balls and stuff.”
That eerie balance—between the domestic and the mystical—has been at the heart of what most of Jaar has done so far. Work, the second compilation from his label Other People, collects a group of seemingly disparate artists unified by a preference for music that feels like it’s being made just around the corner, in the places where clarity gives over to darkness. Some of it sounds like techno, but techno made in no discernible hurry and with no obvious shape; some of it sounds like dub reggae built from static; some of it is limited to the sound of a single voice and a guitar. All of it shares the distinction of being psychedelic—something that’s playing inside your head and yet coming from somewhere infinitely far away. It’s good music for late nights and unshared couches, especially when afforded a little time for the mind to drift.
Part of Other People’s concept is that it works more like a magazine than a record label, inviting people by subscription and sending them new music at semi-regular intervals. One of the surprising—and somewhat limiting—aspects of Work is just how few of Other People’s artists it features, especially considering that as a compilation, it has the potential to reach more people than the label has subscribers. (Maybe only Drew Gragg and I wish there was more Drew Gragg on here, but that at least makes two of us.) Nearly 28 minutes of Work consists of collaborations between Ancient Astronaut—who is on the label—and artists who aren’t; another ten minutes are outtakes from Darkside’s Psychic. In a way, the compilation serves more as a companion to the music the label has already put out than as an introduction to it.
Work gets over on consistency of mood, which has marked all of Jaar’s projects and more or less everything on Other People, too. All the music here—however unrelated on the surface— belongs, yoked together by an invisible thread; less an appeal to the confines of genre than to mood: the impression the music leaves once you turn it off. ”I would say that we’re less interested in a linear narrative and more in a larger journey,” Harrington said in Darkside’s interview with Pinchbeck. “The feeling should be that you go on a spectral trip from the first sound to the last sound. You enter a space, you explore it, you walk around, and then you enter a new space.” The intention is clear, even if the trip doesn’t end up taking you all that far.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1rO0pVt