2 Darkstar – North
With its cover image of what looks like an abandoned steel works, you can only assume that the North of the title is the post-industrial wastelands of the north of England. Released on the hyperdub label – famous for Burial and other dubstep pioneers – it has less in common with their labelmates than it does with recent Radiohead and Low-era Bowie.
Composed on drum machines and synthesisers the music is chilly, stripped back and totally synthetic. The stark beats and basic melodies produce a haunting atmosphere and convey depth of emotion from the simplest-sounding elements. Oddly though I find this a wonderfully uplifting and beautiful listen – like agnostic hymns to a better future.