It’s appropriate that “Gold” premiered on Stereogum, a site whose taste triangulates Pitchfork and Paste for the pasty skin set. That’s not a knock. They offer competent white collar and flannel rock with the best, but you won’t find the latest Deep Medi 12″ or anything Hyperdub-related save for Burial, the token gesture for those whose dance music knowledge extends little further than Fatboy Slim. After all, I once heard Burial in the apartment of a pair of sub-Ray J Danish pop stars, who raved incessantly about how avant-garde he was, while belting out hooky and horrible auto-tune pop in their tacky Hollywood apartment littered with Giacometti sculptures and esoteric hair gels. It was an unholy night.
The dance acts that enjoy crossover success are the ones that offer to meet the dilettantes halfway. See Baths, who has been the latest Low End Theory artist to enjoy love from shoegaze and chillwave emporiums, due to his fusion of glitchy beats and swooning vocals, placing him halfway between Antony & The Johnsons and Flying Lotus. Darkstar do a similar trick, with their synth-pop fetish so strong that their latest single is a B-Side from Human League, this year’s most unlikely critical reclamation. I’ll leave the full review to Sach, but Darkstar have achieved something rare on next month’s North. The gelid auto-tuned dubstep of “Aidy’s Girls a Computer” has been replaced by softer tones and more structured songs. It’s bleak and wintry without lapsing into the alienating and punishing bass that Hyperdub purchased its dubs on.
The result is something engineered for crossover success — this year’s Burial. There are Human League covers so as not to tread too far off into the unfamiliar, but enough dissonance and static to satisfy the snobs. It’s bound to keep both Boomkat and Insound busy, and maybe offer a vein for indie-types to dig towards King Midas Sound, Ikonika, and Terror Danjah. At the very least, it’s a nice respite from having to pretend to enjoy Bright Eyes.
MP3: Darkstar-“Aidy’s Girl’s A Computer (128 K/S)