12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Laced with field recordings and short interviews with young people, Darkstar's Foam Island mixes documentary techniques with electronic music to create a bittersweet portrait of the North of England. Economic inequality is the primary subtext, while the duo's inventive productions speak to electronic music's limitless expressive potential. "Stoke the Fire" frames political agency with hopeful house beats, "Pin Secure" seethes with icy desperation, and "Go Natural" weds falsetto R&B melodies to a minimalist blizzard of plucked strings. Summing up the mood, dissonant closer "Days Burn Blue" overflows with tone and feeling.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Laced with field recordings and short interviews with young people, Darkstar's Foam Island mixes documentary techniques with electronic music to create a bittersweet portrait of the North of England. Economic inequality is the primary subtext, while the duo's inventive productions speak to electronic music's limitless expressive potential. "Stoke the Fire" frames political agency with hopeful house beats, "Pin Secure" seethes with icy desperation, and "Go Natural" weds falsetto R&B melodies to a minimalist blizzard of plucked strings. Summing up the mood, dissonant closer "Days Burn Blue" overflows with tone and feeling.

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About Darkstar

London, England-based garage/dubstep duo-turned-electronic pop group Darkstar debuted in 2007, when producers James Young and Aiden Walley released the "Dead 2 Me" and "Lilyliver" singles, as well as a split 12" shared with Zomby. A handful of additional 12" releases followed in 2008 and 2009. The twitchy "Aidy's Girl Is a Computer" (Hyperdub) was the most significant one of the lot, backed by a remix from Detroiter Kyle Hall and placed in best-of-2009 features by a handful of high-profile publications, including The Guardian. After vocalist James Buttery was added to the lineup, Darkstar completed their debut album, North (Hyperdub), and released it in October 2010 with a mellow cover of the Human League's 1982 B-side "You Remind Me of Gold" issued as a single. The trio returned in November 2012 with "Timeaway" and followed up with the song's parent album, the lighter and brighter News from Nowhere (Warp), in February 2013. Following this album, Buttery left the group, and Darkstar once again became a duo with Walley handling vocals. In 2015, they released Kirklees Arcadia, a mixtape of new material, collaborations, and remixes. This preceded Darkstar's third full-length album, Foam Island, a collage-like effort that combined beat-driven vocal tracks with more experimental interludes and snippets of interviews with young adults living in Huddersfield, England. ~ Andy Kellman

ORIGIN
London, England
FORMED
2006

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