Darkstar first coalesced in the underground, electronic thrum of London’s nascent grime and dubstep sphere in the middle 2000’s, growing from attending the now-fabled early FWD club nights to releasing a pair of game-changing 12” singles on Kode 9’s fledgling Hyperdub label. These were marked departures at the time, fusing unique sonic futurism with an avant-garde pop sensibility that immediately set the duo of Aiden Whalley and James Young apart from the glut of producers emerging at the time. What followed was a fitful and productive period culminating in a discarded album’s worth of tracks, the crucial introduction of vocalist James Buttery to the fold and, finally - the release of their debut full-length North, to wide acclaim.
What followed was a fitful and productive period culminating in the release of their debut full-length 'North', to wide acclaim. By this time Darkstar had aptly been framed as a very intriguing proposition, one of the first proper "bands" to rise from the UK's current electronic underground. This was further cemented by their subsequent signing to the legendary Warp Records and the release of their follow up, 'News From Nowhere', to critical acclaim in 2013.
After touring North across the globe, Buttery, Young and Whalley decamped to a house in the countryside of West Yorkshire, secluding themselves from the distractions of London and writing as a trio for the first time. Ultimately, News From Nowhere is a reflection of the time the spent together there. Eventually proceedings moved from the band’s makeshift digital studio in their house to producer Richard Formby’s (Sonic Boom/Hood/Wild Beasts) dusty studio enclave, full of tape machines and analog synthesizers. The songs that had been inspired by English prog-rock and obscure techno and created as loops based on the band’s affinity for hip-hop production (“literally everything from Lex Luger to Geoff Barrow”) grew into sublimely arranged works. In the end, the album arrived at an altogether singular existence, delving into the moments between moments and elevating them to epic, kaleidoscopic heights. So, the journey from Nowhere begins.
NORTH (HYPERDUB, 2010) reviews:
Fact Magazine 5/5 Resident Advisor 4.5/5 The Telegraph 4/5 Drowned In Sound 8/10 Slant Magazine 4/5 Clash Magazine 7/10