Dark Star Safari is a newly formed group featuring some of the well recognised and already good friends and artists who frequently collaborated on multiple projects in the past. The band is: Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Eivind Aarset and Samuel Rohrer, who also owns the Arjuna label.
This is not just a bunch of personalities who are already The Gray Eminences in an Electronic Music Universe, but also performers with well established styles. Therefore, there is not a chance that the music comes out sort of familiar.
An opening Aarset’s riff in Child of Folly, for example is very much like him, with the guitar that leads the song in the way a pathfinder does. Loop grows, catches up with a rhythmic pattern, from that point they co – lead, swinging and swapping patterns. Samuel is very good with such things. As a drummer he is more a space giver than taker, which is a rare skill.
Jan Bang’s vocals are sounding very David Sylvian like, but as they all worked with him it should not sound unusual, as they already contributed to David’s sonic world. Lyrics are all by Honoré. I do not recall hearing him sing before, so it is surprising to me. In a blind test I would vote for Sylvian without thinking twice.
The way they do work clearly indicates the creative process made on collaboration, delivering and listening to this after to find out what still can be improved or perhaps explored differently for the sake of creative development and due to it being such a soulful brother-hood things are appearing pretty quick and tracks are sounding like they had been many times worked over to get into their final shapes.
Songs like November Child for example indicate such a quality in a very strong way. You can hear that pace is a result of research there within the structure of the piece. Vocal is leading by the fact it brings the meanings from words hence grabs focus easily, other than that the voice is just another instrument and the vocalisation stays in tune with the electronica. Fine tuning to the pitch is happening in the process and it would be fascinating to see that taking place on the stage.
Another beautiful song, White Rose is cooked with this same recipe, The music just grows around the lyrics in such a natural way that it gives an almost organic feeling to the tissue which in fact is all synthesized.
Reflecting on Your Fathers’ Names, it brings a nice sense of alienation, reached by the process of digging into the true memories. It floats in an open space, but the sense of words is putting the walls in the air for you, breaking the space and forcing memories to come and give rescue. In that respect all those songs, due to the complexity of the lyrics and the way they are served, are coming out like a small psycho-dramas, putting the listener into a bubble, forcing them to slow down, and face reflection.
An excellent and mature recording from the guys who did eat bread from many places and know how to bake it right.