Twenty-four year old Mancunian Darren Williams, also known as Star Slinger, is a producer with hip-hop sensibilities and has created a really incredible catalogue of music in what we perceive to be a relatively short time, when actually he’s been honing his skills since a very early age. Star Slinger Vol .1 was put out for free download from his website back in November of last year, but has found itself being quite rightly re-released.
Slinger’s Vol. 1 takes the listener on a truly celestial, if not turbulent and somewhat disjointed voyage through a host of genres and styles. This is more of a beat tape than an album per se. Weighing in at 30.7 minutes, Vol. 1 is pulling no punches; Star Slinger is living up to his name as he knocks you out repeatedly with his audio artisanship. This cosmic-coaster ride is fast and furious, dizzy and yet somehow lucid with purposeful intent from round one onwards. The infectious flow of the motown-drenched Mornin’, to loosen up the listener before sliding into the summery slow-groove of Minted is one helluva opening salvo. Soon enough, Slinger dives out of Minted maintaining the cut and pasted high end vocal instrumentation and into what sounds like a drum n’ bass frisson. The light, cushioned vocals on Extra Time allow the progression to flow with less friction, however the grating that the racing 180bpm* breakbeat does provide is an interesting juxtaposition with the silky 90bpm* R&B flow that lay before it. Old school R&B-come-soul sampling rears up for the second noticeable time in Innocent, featuring screeching hip-hop synths and more tidy vocal samples and even some trumpet low down in the mix somewhere. This here audio grooves like James Brown used to. Moving on to Bumpkin, a track which makes use of bleached-out synths towards the end of the track that would feel right at home in a euphoric chill-out record. Again, the vocals are choppy and wielded as instruments rather than pure vocals, eschewing lyrics and the like, instead choosing just to utilise a range of different pitched ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ abound; there’s more vowel work here than ‘The Barber of Seville’.
Perhaps the most ambitious track on the record is Dutchie Courage, one that sees a courageous rework of 80s reggae one-hit-wonders Musical Youth. Slinger allows the original track to do its thing, while he dices the vocals and splices the synth melodies as the snare ruminates sweetly. Gimme is an assortment of soul-vibrating linear sampling, again proving Slinger’s experience and careful consideration of appropriate musical heritage. The thematic context of Gimme with its cracky sampling is nicely continued with Gas, the sample for which sounds like something you’ve known all your life, even if this is actually the first time you’ve heard it. That sort of comfort only adds to the sumptuous feel of the song, as the beat tempo sits slightly behind the bass and the vocals even further back. The soul sampling continues through to Family Friend, but we don’t mind as we’re enjoying it all far too much at this point. The drum production with its irrepressible, thick-set, kick pattern sitting aloft the light sticksmanship of the original production, along with it’s melodic keys and velvety vocal harmonies makes for a delectable penultimate track. Before we know it we are at the final, and eponymous, Star Slinger, The sandpaper-y FX crunches, the eargasmic chord progressions from the keys, the staccato brass stabs, the stoic bass licks cementing it all together, creates an atmosphere that is just stellar.
Download: [wpaudio url=”https://truantsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/02-Minted.mp3″ text=”Star Slinger – Minted”] (192 kbps)
Download: [wpaudio url=”https://truantsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/07-Dutchie-Courage.mp3″ text=”Star Slinger – Dutchie Courage”] (192 kbps)
Download: [wpaudio url=”https://truantsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/05-Bumpkin.mp3″ text=”Star Slinger – Bumpkin”] (192 kbps)