One thing you can say about Ashley Beedle (actually, there lots of things but without contradiction), he is possibly the most polymath of musicians around today and he never lets us down; bring on the Darkstarr!
Whatever you may think of the MAV!S project (and I had to have more than one listen, see review HERE), there’s no doubt that Mr. Beedle is a musical chameleon, whether its Xpress2 (with Rocky and Diesel), The London Heavy Disco Revue, Black Science Orchestra, the outpourings of Afro Art, the Ballistic Brothers back in the day and more recently Inspiration Information collaboration with Horace Andy (see HERE) and loads more to boot.
Darkstarr sees him linking up with Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy. “Who?” You might ask. We’ll her space synth whisperings comes from New York’s The Loft where she was under (not literally) David Mancuso and she co-founded the record label Bitches Brew.
Put the two of them together and you’ve got the a compilation of ‘Cosmic Disco’, ‘Acid House’, ‘Psychedelic’, ‘Balearic’ (erm… otherwise known as music that makes you dance) on a head-to-head transatlantic New York vs. London / London vs. New York party.
They say “psychedelic disco-tech” best describes their combined sound but it’s possibly even more simple than that funky soul Latin psych disco boogie; whoops, that’s more complicated?
The compilation features both old and new, originals and remixes and one exclusive; the Darkstarr Remix of the MAV!S/Candi Staton track ‘Revolution’ is a massive highlight. You’ll find that on Cosmo CD has her own ‘Kazan’ (credited as Wild Rumpus) kicking things off to huge psych-Latin-funk-out-effect. I’ve not heard this before and it’s a big tune that’s got mass appeal
Talkin’ of which, next up is the Chicago Transit Authority still declaring ‘I’m A Man’ (one you might expect on the one of the Disco Discharge compilations) and it’s still a killer track after all these years, even with the overdrive guitar solo.
Still Going’s ‘Spaghetti Circus’ is equally hard hitting Italo-disco-house (one to put your hands in the air to) that drives me crazy as much as Mass Production’s ‘Cosmic Lust’ (oh! err) that’s jazzy-disco-funk at it’s best; except for Carolyn Crawford, Francine McGee and Azymuth – discuss [amongst yourselves as we dance the night away].
Shirley Lites’ ‘Heat You Up’ is another instant classic (NYC you’re so hard) and Yam Who? ‘Wax The Van’ .
Her set ends on a Bob Holroyd’s ‘African Drug’ and it’s one of the best of the whole set.
Ashley gets to do the 11 tracks on CD 2 and apart from his immaculate mixing style and track selection, he’s gone for tracks that’ve been remixed by some of our long time favourites, such as Quiet Village, Franck Roger, Henrik Schwarz (if you missed him at Big Chill – like me – you may want to catch him at Phonica’s 7th Birthday bash) who gets on Joey Negro’s ‘Man Of War’ and then there’s some originals that have pass?© me by. There’s the fantastic Gallic-jazz-dub-pillow talk of Jepth?© Guillaume’s ‘Shake The Dog’.
You’ll just love KDMS’ ‘Jaguar remix’ as it houses it up and you can see why Supernova’s ‘Sweet Disco Music’ fits so superbly into this mix with all its synthy squiggles and chilled disco beats. And then there’s Simone Fedi with some post punk David Byrne hybrid.
Yam Who? get a track on each CD; ‘The Star Of The Story’ is particularly soul-out jazz-funk groove for a Heatwave (whilst on the subject, the start of the Level 42 come-back starts here; not literally here, but I’ve been warned is on its way).
The set ends on ‘Sounds Like Love’ as remix by Carlos “cosmic love from California” Nino (see our interview with the man HERE) and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (who’s working with Bilal and it’s a big Amazonian piano jazz chill out – mixtape Heaven).
Funny to reflect that Collen has more hard edge balls on her selections but there pair of them actually do (I don’t like this word) resonates well with each other. We’ve missed the launch parties (which was a bit daft with the benefit of hind sight) but once you’ve heard They Live By The Night, Darkstarr will be on your list of ‘Must See/Feel/Go’ future experiences.
We’ve had loads of “psychedelic” influences albums recently and whilst this is at the Studio 54 at the outer reaches, the Darkstarr of the galaxy has a disco ball waiting for you: perfect for fans of Daniel Wang and so many more.
Reviewed: Darkstarr – They Live By The Night (Compiled by Ashley Beedle & Cosmo) (MRR) Cat. No. MRR1005CD Release date: 21st June 2010
Launch Parties: Saturday, 12 June @ Horatia, 98-102 Holloway Road London, N7 8JE
Sunday, 13 June @ Horse Meat Disco, Eagle London, 349 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, London SE11 5QY