DARKSIDE’s debut LP Psychic was one of the surprise masterpieces of last year, a brooding, sultry slice of dark dance rock. Nicolas Jaar had already been making waves with his excellent solo material for a few years, but it wasn’t until he teamed up with Brown University buddy Dave Harrington that the DARKSIDE sound clicked. Now, as the duo continue to tour the world in support of Psychic, Harrington has announced his debut solo EP, Before This There Was One Heart But A Thousand Thoughts, out June 8 via Jaar’s label Other People. The EP, consisting of two long tracks with multiple movements within them, is a trip to an even darker side of Harrington’s mind.
While Harrington is often described as a multi-instrumentalist, he’s also too-often pigeonholed as a guitarist due to his role in DARKSIDE, providing the downtempo riffs that so perfectly dance over Jaar’s atmospheres. Given this, one might think that Harrington’s solo material would be similarly guitar-centric, but thankfully the results are much more unexpected than that. Here Harrington proves he can do experimental weirdness quite well, in fact that almost seems to be the point; the EP runs the gamut from slightly murky ambience to some much more frightening sounds. The first track, “One-All // A Thousand Times // Multiple and Mirror,” starts out much like a DARKSIDE track, with moody suspense, plucked guitar notes, and small psychedelic flourishes. Harrington’s decision to start in familiar territory feels intentional, as if he’s saying, “this is what you know me for, now get ready to rethink what you know me for.” A frantic, screeching guitar jolts the listener out of their complacency, a foreboding preview of what’s to come. “Flash // All-One” starts out in a state of complete doom, Satan himself seemingly knocking on the door to your eardrum. This transitions to a mechanical chugging, just a few of the myriad of small sections within the tracks that toy with all kinds of ideas. While some moments are more memorable than others, as a whole the EP stands out as one of the best examples of experimental guitar in recent memory.
Before This There Was One Heart But A Thousand Thoughts is a fitting title, since the EP depicts the practically endless ideas of one man. Even compared to a fairly weird album like Psychic, it is highly experimental in nature, inspiring many thoughts but not much head-nodding. Part of the fun in listening to the EP is separating the camouflaged, unorthodox guitar sounds from sounds with other sources. What’s most important is that the EP fully introduces Harrington's remarkable creativity to the world. There’s no doubt that we’ll be hearing thousands and thousands more of his thoughts in the future, hopefully both as a solo artist and as one half of DARKSIDE.
'Before This There Was One Heart But A Thousand Thoughts'