Available on: Mary Anne Hobbs: Wild Angels, Planet Mu

Hyperdub-signed production duo Darkstar have been carefully staggering the amount of music they’ve let out since last year’s 12” ‘Need You’. Some was revealed on their ten minute mix for Mary Anne Hobbs’ Hyperdub showcase later in 2008, including the stunning ‘Memory Bank’. Then ‘Aidy’s Girl’s a Computer’ was released to selected DJs early this year. The latest track to surface is a cover of ‘Videotape’, from Radiohead’s In Rainbows, that appeared on the band’s myspace and will, in September, be available on Mary Anne Hobbs’ Wild Angels compilation for Planet Mu.

Whether ‘Videotape’ will feature on their forthcoming full-length for Hyperdub is anyone’s guess: Thom Yorke’s a Darkstar fan, but I doubt he calls the shots on copyright issues. What’s clear is that if the album reaches the same peaks that Darkstar have hit on this song and ‘Aidy’s Girl’, then it’ll be a record that features moments of genuine beauty and searing sorrow. A chant gets louder and louder over a dead air space of fizzing motherboards and overcooked circuits, with that trademark Darkstar vocal – described by Marcus Scott in the NME as sounding like ‘the saddest robot in the world’ – lamenting over the top. ‘Videotape’ is its claustrophobic, resigned death knell.

Tom Lea



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