Posts Tagged ‘electronic’

Darkstar – North (Hyperdub)

November 19, 2010

For Juno Records

James Young and Aiden Whalley take a bold leap forward and backward with their debut album North, and help their label Hyperdub diversify in the process. Darkstar’s earlier singles like “Squeeze My Lime” and “Need You” saw the duo firmly entrenched in Kode 9 inspired dub-step and grime, so the music on North may take listeners by surprise upon first spin. Why you ask? Because the two-step beats and funky grime you’ve come to expect from Darkstar, have been replaced with cold synth lines and dark pop vocals courtesy of James Buttery.

Essentially what we have here is a synth-pop album in the style of Junior Boys, yet where Junior Boys have worn their formula ragged, hackneyed, and thin, Darkstar add new life in the genre. Early standout track “Deadness” illuminates this quite well, with smooth synth, gently processed vocals, and an amazing darkwave guitar-line coda that evokes plenty of emotion and rainy day pathos. The following track is the already revered “Aidy’s Girl is a Computer”, and it fits in snugly on the playlist even though it stands in stark contrast to the mood on the rest of the album.

“Under One Roof” brings the emotion right back, with woozy synth lines and Buttery’s voice stitched cleverly within the mix of synths and rhythm section. The overall feel of the album is one made for the cold rainy days of autumn — where it’s still not yet cold enough to snow, but starts to get dark in mid-afternoon, creating a bleak liminal state between seasons.

Penultimate track “Dear Heartbeat” is perhaps the most traditionally pop number on the album, with a twinkling piano backdrop and steady drumbeat, yet it still retains the cold autumn motif throughout. Closing track “When it’s Gone” sounds like a new, slowed down version of “Squeeze My Lime” and is a dreamy track that sort of drifts in and out and seems to hint at further transformations of Young and Whalley’s sound. Buttery closes the album singing: “I won’t forget you…” and with North, Darkstar have created a creeper of an album, one that will subtly seduce with each successive listen, and soon transform into one of the year’s most unforgettable albums for you.

Check it.

Fab Collab from Burial & Four Tet

May 6, 2009

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Yes. I have it. Yes. I can’t stop listening to it. This two track EP is called “Moth/Wolf Cub” and it merges the musical stylings of leftfield producer Kieran Hebden with dubstep pundit Will Bevam. For electronic music nerds like myself, there really hasn’t been a more exciting release this year. Burial blasted my listening palette wide the fuck open two years ago when I first heard “Untrue”. The beats so simple, the vocals so strange, the bass so deeeep. That whole album makes me feel like I’m in the bathroom of a club, hiding in a stall, mashed on pills and hearing the throb of the music through the bathroom wall. Lucid, yet muddled. Digital yet organic. God I hate using adjectives to describe music.

The opening track “Moth” is a piece of pure 4/4 beauty. Reminiscent of warm Detroit minimalism and Boards of Canada, yet still sounding exactly how you’d imagine Burial and Four Tet would sound if slapped together. It has the feel of a classic techno track, one with warmth, soul and that steady 4/4 beat. The flipside is a bit more abstract, the beats more chaotic, but it reveals a tight meshing of both artists distinct styles and sounds.

I fucking love this.

“Moth” may be my fave track of the year so far. If you can find it, check it!!