Darkstar Start Again

Darkstar Start Again
Given the blog-driven hyperworld of music these days, waiting even a week longer than you have to can feel like missing the boat. For London, UK's Darkstar, the dubstep meets synth-pop duo of James Young and Aiden Walley, that week kept getting longer. They first announced a debut album back in the first half of 2009. By October, the well-received single "Aidy's Girl Is a Computer" was making the rounds, but the album mysteriously never showed up.

It was quite difficult," Young admits. "The album didn't take that long, but the run-up took ages." What happened is that Darkstar made a whole other album. "We realized that we didn't like it after we handed it in," says Young. That first package was more dance-oriented and held together more like a series of twelve-inches than a coherent album. "By the end of making it, we were already bored with hearing that kind of sound."

The duo decided to risk losing their momentum to go back into the studio to sort out their creative confusion. The way out came through an invitation from BBC Radio DJ Mary Ann Hobbs to contribute a track to her Wild Angels mix. "We did a cover of Radiohead's 'Videotape' and brought in our friend James [Buttery] to do some vocals. After that we decided we should do more stuff like that. Once James was in the mix, it was quite quick."

The layering melancholy beats and a new vocalist resulted in North, out this month on Hyperdub and one of the most impressively individual and emotionally accessible electronic albums of the year.