Eight years after releasing Psychic, Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington return with Spiral, an album the duo worked on for three years.
Composed of organic, acoustic and electronic sounds, Spiral evokes a visceral psychedelia rooted in the natural world while suggesting the existence of a parallel world, or the memory of a primitive one. An experimental aesthetic thwarts expectations and some instruments that seem to be of their own making adorn, like pleasant anachronisms, the instrumental sequences and the near-silences. Some of the pieces, in no particular order: on “Narrow Road”, Jaar’s airy voice is accompanied by an electric guitar, electronic glitches and a sustained synth note, all of which recall the monastic atmosphere of Gregorian chants. On “The Limit”, a pan flute throws us into the jungle and it’s easy to imagine the multiplicity of sounds coming from small nocturnal creatures. The bass groove and shuffling percussion are surrounded by raw textures that spring up from all sides, such as crackling white noise or percussive noise from uncertain sources. Then, on “I’m the Echo”, the bass is played tightly and its melody melts into a galloping rhythm, while the synths remain solemn. Then, on “The Question Is To See It All”, the bass and synths are psychedelic, the shaking percussion that feels handmade sets the pace, the retro-evocative vocals feed the ’60s vibe, and on the chorus, the acoustic guitar feels diaphanous and expansive.
Could listening to Spiral be classified as a “mystical” experience? Would it be far-fetched to think so? Whatever the case, we hope to see them perform this album as soon as possible.