Darkstar @ Corsica Studios

Darkstar / Photo ©

Elevating sounds for weakened bodies and souls

A chilly evening like an Italian gelato on my skin, London beginning December.
I make my way round the Corsica Studios' mystery shabby corner, behind Elephant & Castle's ugly urban giants, to reach a room still empty of fans.
My muesli and rice milk handed to the box office for safekeeping (no shopping bags allowed in the main concert area), I feel burned out after a long day at work, sitting, lame fruit juice at hand, on the wooden bank, at the bar, on the soft-as-heaven couch, on the concrete floor, restless and impatient, waiting for the band to start. I notice eventually the dj plays some cool stuff, and the concrete floor starts feeling way more comfortable after all.

Before I know it, Darkstar are out, and I beg to myself that they don't play all too many cheerful stuff... I didn't entirely disapprove of their second recording News From Nowhere, out this year on Warp, and I definitely wouldn't want to rush and kill the trio's much-discussed colourful and jolly evolution, but there's no denying that I, too, had fallen head over heels for their slow-burning, dark-tempo debut North back in 2010. I needed it back.
And they did it.
News From Nowhere cover / Photo ©
It's not that they just centered on North. They didn't have to. Here was a band that was as moody, enigmatic and kickass as I had known it to be, no matter what they played. I felt my tiredness melting under sounds sad and euphoric, introvert and understanding all at the same time.
Darkstar's sound is attractive because it's emotionally tantalizing but essentially uncomplicated. You can retrace your high-school years, all the way to your present and your present nostalgia, while the soundtrack to your strengths and insecurities unfolds. They're the guys next door, they know - and they can put it in mesmerising notes.

...That dj eventually picked up, after the show, with Cocteau Twins and other nameless traveling electronica that hit all the right buttons - making me nail my tired feet on the concrete floor until all music was dead and gone...