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Five Essentials: Dark Sky

Five Essentials: Dark Sky
Jack Smith

2016 is set to be a landmark year for Dark Sky. Having displayed an impressive strength in musical versatility via a plethora of singles and EPs on key labels such as Mister Saturday Night, 50 Weapons and Tectonic since their debut in 2010, the London-based trio are looking to expand on the stylistic cohesion of their debut LP Imagin with their forthcoming second album on Modeselektor’s Monkeytown imprint.

Sightings of new album material have been few and far between bar a tantalising debut for ‘Naked Rudiements’ last November – but if that’s anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat. As we return to the Hoxton FM studio on January 12th for our monthly residency, we’ll be joined by Matt Benyayer of the trio for a chat and guest mix.

And with that, it’s a real pleasure to present Dark Sky’s Five Essentials: an eclectic, colourful selection featuring Ricardo Villalobos, Floating Points, John Beltran et al bringing good vibes to this blue Monday in January. Happy listening!

Insanlar – Kime Ne (Ricardo Villalobos Mix 1)

I love how Villalobos puts his captivating spin on this remix but at the same time maintains the integrity of the original. The evolving polyrhythms and subtle automations are really special for me. Not being able to predict where the next hit is going to fall, or when the next breakdown is going to come in makes each listen very rewarding. Once you’re locked into the groove, that’s it – you have to stay there for the full sixteen minutes to hear every nuance but the beautiful thing is that it doesn’t feel like sixteen minutes at all.

Andrea – Outlines

I love how Andrea gets this one going right from the off. The drums make such a powerful statement and carry so much emotion alone that when the strings do come in the track becomes a beautiful monster that is impossible to escape from. This on the Corsica Studios sound system is a beast.

Maalem Mahmoud Guinia & Floating Points – Mimoun Marhaba

The whole concept behind this project really makes me feel blessed to be alive during a time where music like this is being made. The juxtaposition between Flo Po’s modular synths and the ancient tones of Mahmoud on strings is the stuff dreams are made of. The restraint Shepherd employs to keep the modular groove rolling but never going over the top shows a true regard for the Moroccan musical traditions but at the same time maintains his integrity as a producer always looking forwards. It’s very refreshing to see artists moving out of their comfort zones and testing themselves on unique projects like these.

Axel Boman – Nokturn (Grand Finale)

I like to call it the ‘Marmite track’ you either love it or hate it but on a dance floor it can do serious damage if played at the right time and place. I was lucky enough to get to play it on new years day at the Percolate Breakfast Club at the Pickle Factory in London at 12 in the afternoon and people started losing their sh*t haha. The breakdown is really special, I love the Boman signature of combining far flung elements that shouldn’t work together on paper but make total sense when heard in context.

John Beltran – Soft Summer

I’m a bit late with the Beltran stuff but I stumbled upon his music recently whilst digging through some of the old Café-Del-Mar compilations from the 90s. This track from his 10 Days of Blue album stood out for me because of how much groove there was in it whilst still being beatless. This for me is a really interesting territory as I’m always searching for ways to create a sense of groove and rhythm without necessarily using drums. Playing this one out in a club is going to be the next challenge but I look forward to it!

Dark Sky join us on Hoxton FM tomorrow (January 12th) between 9-11pm. Listen in here.