Tag Archives: dark sky

EP Roundup: Hudson Mohawke / Dark Sky / Hard Ass Sessions VI

Hudson MohawkeSatin Panthers (Warp)

Hudson Mohawke’s first release since his seminal 2009 album Butter is a bit uneven, teasing for a few songs before delivering on its lofty expectations. “Octan” shimmers but doesn’t really go anywhere, and the synth line on “Cbat” is a little too squeaky, distracting from the future hop beat.

Then, finally, there’s the type of orchestral future bass that HudMo practically invented. “All Your Love” features a big R&B melody, thunderous drums, and tinkling synths that propel the song forward; the off-kilter rave piano that comes into focus about halfway through is perfect. The EP closes with “Thank You,” a super collider of drumline rhythms that is reminiscent of “FUSE.”

Dark SkyRadius EP (50 Weapons)

Dark Sky‘s Radius EP, on Modeselektor’s 50Weapons imprint, cements their place in the post-dubstep / bass music conversation. As their name suggests, Dark Sky makes foreboding, moody bass music. But it still is danceable – albeit in a very specific way: “Speeding Blue” and “The Lick” mix wobbly melodies with the scattershot riddims of UK funky and grime.

While Dark Sky has already established a well-defined style, the standout tracks on Radius couldn’t be more different from each other. “Neon” shifts from warm, house synths to chilly chiptune; both are equally addictive. On the other hand, “Be Myself” is a techy tribute to programmed beats and creepy samples.

Various artistsHard Ass Session VI (Enchufada)

Compiled by Buraka Som Sistema’s J-Wow, the latest volume in the Hard Ass Sessions brings together four top notch producers, each with a different take on tropical bass. Living up to the series’ name (“kuduro” translates to “hard ass”), Kry Wolf’s “Picadinho Di Pedalina” and Schlachthofbronx’s “Backup Run” are kuduro bangers. For cumbia fans, Cardopusher offers the surging “Tu Bizcochito.” The only outlier stylistically is “Waiting On.” The track is pure Brenmar, though, mashing together a hip-hop sample and vibrant, funky drums.

J-Wow’s 2011 Hard Ass Mix draws on these tracks, among others.

Future Grooves: Dark Sky

It turns out Magnetic Man is not the only triumvirate making waves in dubstep. Dark Sky, comprised of three South Londoners, is short on biographical information and tracks. However, the little they have released proves – to paraphrase the adage – that three heads are better than one.

As the Boogaloo Crew, Matt Benyayer and Tom Edwards released a few wobbly bangers for Trouble and Bass, including a stellar flip of Stevie Nick’s “Edge of Seventeen” entitled “Days Go By,” on which that familiar, bittersweet hook melts into pulses of serious bass.

Now, Matt and Tom have teamed up with Carlo Anderson to form Dark Sky, an outfit whose music continues to get deeper and more complex with each new release. First up was a 7″ on Black Acre Records. On the B-side, chiptune keys play out like the titular “Ghost Notes” before darker waves of synth push into the mix, while the A-side, “Something to Lose,” is a lone ray of light shining through ominous clouds, building into a breakbeat fueled jump-up track.

The recently released Frames EP builds on the sparse post-dubstep of “Ghost Notes.” The beats owe more to UK funky and two-step, with the sirens and bass blasts of dubstep. The tracks groove with the steady propulsion of a Joker or Ramadanman beat. The stand-out track, “Drowned City,” features bursts of airy synths and a jagged upbeat sound that is given plenty of room to breath.

Their Dark001 mixtape features originals by the group and contemporaries Panagea and Untold, as well as a killer remix of “Crystalised” by the XX, before closing on the Luvstep-approved remix of Little Dragon’s “Twice” by Aaron Jerome. For Dark Sky, it looks like bright days ahead.