Recommended: Dark Sky – Black Rainbows EP

For their next EP, Dark Sky is set to return to Black Acre, the label that put out their debut “Something to Lose / Ghost Notes” in 2010. Following their most recent release, the “Radius” EP on Modeselektor’s 50Weapons, things took off and it was hard to hit a club without hearing the instaclassic “Neon” – so the group’s return to Bristol-based Black Acre is both welcome and not necessarily expected. The London trio – comprised of Tom Edwards, Matt Benyayer, and Carlo Anderson – have continued on their streak of paring down their productions and personalizing their sound, yet on this release they sound as ‘Dark Sky’ as ever.

Something about the title “Black Rainbows,” as banal as it may be, is still fitting when it comes to Dark Sky. Their production is deep as it gets, percussion-laden and heavy on the bass in a way that still manages to be intelligent. This EP in particular has what’s described as a “noir edge,” something that’s expressed aurally in the best possible way. As full as their tracks may get at times, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, some sort of optimism that drives the track and makes it worth playing out til the end. It was this feeling that got us hooked with the trio’s early remix of the XX’s “Crystalised” and Kelis’s “Brave,” and we’ve kept tabs on them ever since.

The EP’s opener “F-Technology” is a shifting, looming number, taking things very low and tribal until a characteristic Dark Sky synth break allows you to catch your breath. While this track might be different from what we’ve heard from them before, the trio haven’t abandoned their tendency for tasteful nostalgia. The appreciation of early-90’s hardcore that they pulled off in their debut “Something to Lose” as well as the nod to classic garage and house motifs in “Neon” showed an ability to speak to the things we love to re-visit in a post-everything musical climate, while avoiding falling into cliché. “Black Rainbows”’ second track, “Tremor,” successfully manages exactly the same thing – the resemblance to the Perculator is irrefutable.

Zoom – (ACRE033) by Dark Sky

The first single, “Zoom,” might not be our favourite from the EP, but that’s not to say it isn’t very good. It’s a display of Dark Sky’s strengths – oozing, bouncing bass and 2-step percussion lay grounds for an expansive soundtrack that can work just as well for a solitary midnight drive through the city or at a packed after-hours warehouse.

Dark Sky – Totem (ripped from XLR8R podcast)

Finally, the standout track “Totem” closes the EP. More melodic than the other dark, percussive tracks, it acts as “the perfect post-rave salve, an optimistic close, like sunrise during the calm of a dawn break return home.” First appearing in Dark Sky’s XLR8R podcast in the summer (which you can download here), it heightened anticipation before the announcement of an official release even happened – and the wait was well worth it. Here’s hoping that after leaving off on this high note, the trio picks up where they left off for their next release, whenever and where ever it may be.

Black Rainbows will be released March 26th via Black Acre, and you can pre-order it here.

Cayley MacArthur