London post-dubstep crew Darkstar has a number of 12″‘s and singles (as a duo), but their forthcoming downcast Hyperdub collection North (as a trio) is their official full-length debut. The group’s new use of vocals (via James Buttery) and certified “synthpop” sound is bound to surprise and repel some fans of glitchier tracks like “Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer,” etc., charm others. I think it works. See where you stand via the lead single “Gold,” a cover/re-imagination of the Human League’s “You Remind Me Of Gold,” the 1982 B-side to “Mirror Man.” Because this is Hyperdub, they were inspired to cover it after hearing the original slowed to 33rpm. The technology gets more advanced on this video, created by Evan Boehm, one half of the “interactive duo” sembler. It’s framed as “a digital mixed media project combining DIY digital technology, custom written code and open source science data.” Here are a few more details for the tech-minded amongst you:
The 3D models of Darkstar were built using the open source 3D Structured Light Scanner, which is a DIY, home built version of the laser scanner made famous in Radiohead’s “House Of Cards” music video. By projecting flickering light patterns from a standard issue office projector, we built accurate 3D models of the groups faces.
The gold contagion was written in C++ specifically for this project using the open source library openFrameworks. The code is downloadable as a processing app on sembler’s website.
Darkstar’s “biological stand-ins” came directly via the National Library of Medicine in Maryland’s Visible Human Project, which proposes “to create a digital image dataset of complete human male and female cadavers in MRI, CT and anatomical modes.”
For all that, it’s more emotional, basic, and poetic than you might expect — deeply “human” in all senses.
The radio edit of the song:
01 “In The Wings”
04 “Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer”
05 “Under One Roof”
06 “2 Chords”
09 “Dear Heartbeat”
10 “When It’s Gone”
North is out 10/19 via Hyperdub. “Gold” will be released as a single on 11/8 with a remix by Midwest-bred, Berlin-based producer John Roberts, who has a debut forthcoming on Dial this fall. More on “Gold” via Darkstar’s James Young:
The Human League track was given to me by a friend, he used to play the dub at 33rpm instead of 45 so the break would be real slow and crunchy, he lent me the tune and i put the flip on 33rpm too, the vocal line was how you hear it in the single, the original is much quicker and it’s a pretty obscure one from the Mirror Man EP. The Human League are great. We paid more attention to them after making the track, throughout the album we listened to four or five albums regularly and Travelogue was one of them. I’m not sure if we are real fans to be honest, I listen to some of it and think that it’s brave but sometimes they get it so right. They’ve obviously got a strong vision to create a sound so uncompromising. Even though they were consistently in the charts it’s a very particular way of writing, mixing and arranging. I don’t think I’ve heard anything like it before or since. I don’t necessarily enjoy listening to it a lot of the time. It interests me though.
You’ll find more interesting tidbits in this interview they did with Hyperdub head Kode9 over at Hyperdub’s blog.