Darkstar – North


A top LP, soulful and quiet, but with enough character and personality to grab your attention. The opening track In The Wings is a lovely (and fairly representative) introduction to the LP. Both the track and the LP are reminiscent of Scritti Politti at times (maybe it’s the chords; maybe it’s the bitter-sweet feel or the arrangements of synths). At times it reminded me of some of the more reflective ACR tracks too.  It’s not a normal Hyperdub/dubstep record that’s for sure.

I hadn’t heard much from this lot apart from their brilliant single Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer on the 5 Years of Hyperdub compilation, but I do know they’re from Manchester, and there are times when the electro on North is reminiscent of the quiet, dubby 1982 Peel Session New Order did before PCL, (step forward Deadness and the bass synth line on Under One Roof, I’m thinking of you). And knowing they’re from Manchester they won’t thank me for that.

Talking of 1980s Northern post-industrial, we also get a brilliant take on the Human League’s (You Remind Me of) Gold which I was very surprised (but pretty chuffed) to hear.  There’s a fair bit of grim up north lyrical content too, in Two Chords, which is fine by this Lancastrian: and Ostkreuz is a short rework of something like Weeping Wall. You never know they’ll be covering Kirkby Worker Dream Fades soon.

Other favourites include North, which is a musical elegy that slowly spreads, tide-like over a beat that could have been on Fourth Drawer Down. Dear Heartbeat and When It’s Gone are crackers too, lovely bedroom lament over shuffling, maudlin beats that somehow manage to sound heartwarming.

Top stuff.