|Starwalker — Starwalker (April 1, 2016)|
Starwalker — Starwalker (April 1, 2016) ♠ Featuring Air’s Jean–Benoît Dunckel and Bang Gang’s Barði Jóhannsson, Starwalker debuted its fittingly spacy pop in late 2013.
JBD Born: 7 September 1969, Versailles, Île–de–France, France
BJ Born: 10 September 1975
Location: Paris, France ~ Iceland
Styles: Ambient Pop, Indie Electronic, Alternative/Indie Rock
Album release: April 1, 2016
Record Label: PROTOTYP RECORDING
01 Holidays 3:30
02 Blue Hawaii 5:01
03 Losers Can Win 3:54
04 Radio 3:33
05 Everybody’s Got Their Own Way 5:34
06 Come and Stay 4:36
07 Get Me 3:48
08 Le President 5:09
09 Bad Weather 4:55
10 Demeter 6:26
• Jean–Benoît Dunckel / Bardi Jóhannsson 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
• Jean–Benoît Dunckel / Bardi Jóhannsson / Keren–Ann Zeidel 3
° Louis Arlette Engineer
° Thibaut Barbillon Bass, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic)
° Taki Bibelas Artwork
° Jean–Benoît Dunckel Composer, Engineer, Instrumentation, Mixing, Vocals
° Graduali Futuri Children’s Chorus
° Styrmir Hauksson Engineer
° Birgir Heidar Layout
° Bjarni Thor Jensson Guitar, Vocals (Background)
° Rósa Jóhannesdóttir Choir Conductor
° Barði Jóhannsson Composer, Engineer, Instrumentation, Mixing, Vocals
° Sarah Jones Drums
° Benjamin Joubert Mastering
° Laurent Pinon Logo
° Keren–Ann Zeidel Composer, Vocals (Background)
Review by Alice Severin; Score: 8.9
♠ I had the pleasure of interviewing Bardi Johannsson of Gang Bang last year, and listening to him describe his musical process and the varied types of work he was involved with, from straight albums to theatrical music to film scores a reminder of all the possibilities in creative collaboration. His beautiful compositions could set innumerable cameras rolling, even if only those visuals hidden within your thoughts. ♠ In 2014, he joined together with French icon Jean–Benoit Dunckel of Air as Starwalker. It is a collaboration of like minds. Their website sweeps you into their galactic vision with beautiful visuals matched with sound, an elegant rendering of their delicate awareness of balance and emotion. Their first full length album is released April 1, and it’s a beauty. A slow, thoughtful, enveloping album, it gathers you into its intriguing mix of warmth and icy cold with delicate precision.
♠ Holidays, the first song, begins with a childlike vocal that almost induces worry — the feeling hints at bright, happy days…could it be true? The piano is so lovely, the chorus is poppy and sweet — why then does it induce dread? Lost innocence, fear, or simple beauty – any possibility is magnified within the sound.
♠ Blue Hawaii is a gorgeous ballad, accompanied by a mysterious video on their website. While it alludes to a kind of classic electro pop, the way they skillfully change the mood instantly with a chord change or a textured sound leaves you watching your emotions shift. “You want to crush the world but the world will crush you.” As with all their songs, the depths within await your possibility to comprehend them.
♠ Losers Can Win shows a simple pop structure that harks back to the French pop songs of the sixties, But draped on that scaffolding is layers of developed sound above which float the perfectly modern lyrics. “You say you’ve given your best shot…it ain’t close to all that you’ve got…you’ve got to make a new start when you’re going insane…”
♠ Radio has a jazzy late night feel, with that tempting bass line, a deliciously retro sound in the chorus, and a smooth glide, without losing sight of the album’s starry sky dream. Oh yes.
♠ But every song carries its own intimate atmosphere, array of textures, and superb, ear caressing production. By the time album ends with Demeter, one is caught up in whatever elan brought these two electronic geniuses, or genii, together. The song is a dreamy high note, a cascading flow of warm and cold punctuated by precise drumming and interlacing rhythms. In total, the album reveals a wide open landscape of dreams and natural beauty, reminiscent of the island that might have inspired some of the elegant, disruptive music within. ♠ http://www.northerntransmissions.com/
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares; Score: ****
♠ Starwalker’s self–titled debut lives up to the promise of the Losers Can Win EP, as well as its members’ CVs. It’s no surprise that a collaboration between Air’s Jean–Benoît Dunckel and Bang Gang’s Bardi Jóhannsson would result in lush, lavish music, but Starwalker is also remarkably and refreshingly pop–focused: The duo saves the album’s lone instrumental, the expansive “Demeter,” for last. Indeed, Starwalker is often more accessible than some of Dunckel’s other music outside of Air; “Losers Can Win” and “Holidays” feel like worthy successors to Darkel’s lovely “At the End of the Sky” in their mix of childlike wonder and bittersweet sophistication. Jóhannsson and Dunckel even outdo Air when it comes to songs that shimmer like soap bubbles and drape like satin on the tropical idyll “Blue Hawaii” and the baroque melancholy of “Le President.” However, they also incorporate plenty of less–expected influences with confidence, like the stomping Motown beat and proggy coda on “Everybody’s Got Their Own Way.” Within these sonic confections, Starwalker crafts whimsically romantic confessions: “Let’s meet in space,” Dunckel croons on “Come and Stay” as he and Jóhannsson transform sugary, early ‘70s novelty pop into a spiritual and seductive lullaby. Meanwhile, love and technology are inextricably linked on the AM pop–worshipping “Radio” and “Get Me,” where Dunckel sings “my heart beats like a drum machine.” A thoroughly delightful album, it’s hard to imagine fans of Jóhannsson and Dunckel’s other projects not falling hard for Starwalker’s charming galactic pop.
|Starwalker — Starwalker (April 1, 2016)|