posted November 6, 2012Tweet
“This record is its own thing, in its own bubble and time,” says James Young about his band Darkstar’s second album, and while it sounds logical, try and think of how many records actually embrace their own sense of self and space. News From Nowhere is certainly one such creation, and one arrived at via a very unique path.
Darkstar first coalesced in the underground, electronic thrum of London’s nascent grime and bass 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. 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 is a totally different record to North. It’s somewhat brighter in mood, but deeper in feeling and intention…it’s much more rhythmic and fluid. It moves quicker.” – Darkstar
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 they spent together there. Says Young, “Every place warrants a story. No matter where it is, how quiet, remote or disconnected. There are moments in people’s everyday lives, no matter how subtle, that can be documented and talked about in great detail. The instances spiral and ascend and take on their own course, altering the perception of how even the slightest change in a day can be felt deeply.”
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.
News From Nowhere - Tracklist