Warp Records’ UK electronic group Darkstar kicked off 2015 by refocusing their efforts as a duo, returning to the original incarnation, and releasing the 27-minute surprise mixtape Kirlees Arcadia. The release–comprised of nine tracks, including features, collaborations, and remixes of artists like LFO–can be read as a kind of mission statement, illustrating the transitory nature of the band’s sound from spooky, celestial robotics to grounded, rap-conscious, club-ready productions. It’s most apparent on the “re-edit” of “Aidy’s Girl Is A Computer” on Arcadia. The original track’s clattering cadence, included on Darkstar’s 2010 debut North, is chopped, looped, and given ample room to breathe as a simple but seductive house number.
On their newest track “Pin Secure,” the lead single to be featured on their forthcoming full-length Foam Island, Darkstar take another bold step away from the progressive, left-field artistry of their first two records. This track is full-on pop, albeit dressed to the nines in glitzy electronic textures and pedantic, trap-sensible rhythms. Starkly arranged steel drum melodies and helplessly agitated synthesizer lines set up a satisfying contrast to the singer’s eccentrically programmed verses, what might be his most arresting performance to date.
Foam Island is out October 2 via Warp. Stream Darkstar‘s Kirklees Arcadia mixtape below.