A promising collection that skips from broken beats to fluid grooves.
Jen Long 2011-03-28
Star Slinger shot from nowhere. One day the world was quiet; the next it was littered with his name, snapping to his wide-referencing, sample-scattering pop clips. Taking and twisting everything from distant Motown hooks to Life Without Buildings classics, his slick ear and warping cuts turn vocal lines into a spiral of heaving beats and seesawed synths.
Twenty-four-year-old Darren Williams from Manchester is the mixmaster in question. He has already released through Brooklyn’s Mexican Summer and London’s Double Denim; however, Volume 1 comes as a self-created download available from his own website. It would be wrong to call this a debut album proper; it doesn’t have the feel of a completed body of work. Instead it skips from broken beats to fluid grooves across an erratic tracklist that parallels the inner workings of an e-number-fuelled child’s daydreams.
Gold Panda and The Avalanches are quick reference points, but Williams maintains a strong idiosyncrasy throughout. Where Gold Panda emphasises space and beauty, Williams throws out short bursts of sugary excitement that race to the end before they’ve barely begun. Where The Avalanches spin dizzy with ideas and quirks, Williams takes one key root and unlocks its potential with energy and flare. On opener Mornin’ he loops and bolsters a short snatch of vocal into a portrait of eye-opening perfection, while on Extra Time the backing beats slip and glitch their way to the foreground in a disorientating but addictive battle.
At times Volume 1 does play like digging inside the mind of its creator; some of the tracks feel a little unfinished and stumble like half-brewed thoughts spat out rashly, but with the promise of leading to bigger moments. Yet that is the charming essence of this record. It feels like a precursor to a very exciting talent, biding his time and flexing his craft.