After releasing a string of very fun and explorative EPs, Star Slinger has signed to Skrillex’s highly coveted imprint, OWSLA – and just dropped his debut project with the label. Boasting features from D∆WN, Sam Sparro, Tungi Ige, James Vincent McMorrow and Sara Z – ‘We Could Be More’ demonstrates how to reconcile a dense array of sonics with pop’s favourite currency: gorgeous melodies.
Speaking on the EP, Star Slinger had the following to say: “Since a kid I’ve been listening to radio, my parent’s old records – as well as discovering music for myself via Zines, clubs, music venues & a lot of record shopping. I’ve been through every phase a teenager goes thru; I was simultaneously into everything from Folk, Punk, New Wave, 90semo Trance, House, Indie, Hip Hop, RnB, Neo Soul, UK Garage, Happy Hardcore, Grime, etc. But of course with that – you fine tune your tastes eventually. I think I have listened to so much music that I’m still doing that. The one common thing in my life is that I love good pop music. I love the art of a relatable song & with this EP I wanted to do that.”
Upon reading Star Slinger’s musings on ‘WCBM’, the motivation for his genre-bending pop compositions becomes apparent; his mind-bogglingly omnivorous consumption of music has allowed him to draw on sounds from all over the musical map, and, ultimately – to generate a project that balances originality with a broad appeal.
Perhaps the EP’s greatest feat is as follows. ‘WCBM’ consists largely of tracks that are hard-hitting and club-ready, but eschew the dissonant (and almost always jarring) rises, drops and FX commonly associated with such tracks – opting instead to fill that space with pure melody. Take the EP’s leader, ‘We Could Be More’ featuring D∆WN, for example. The racing droplets that accompany D∆WN’s catchy hook are not replaced with some obnoxious, crunching synth as the track breaks down; Star Slinger dials in some gorgeous, fizzing keys that bounce jauntily off the drums. Incidentally, these keys arguably sit somewhere between trance and R&B, both of which are listed as influences by our artist, and both hold melody at their core.
‘Slow Love’, ‘Look In To Be Seen’ and ‘Losing Sleep’ continue in a similar vein. Instrumentation is used sparingly allowing a lot of room for the drums to pop, affording the tracks their aforementioned ‘hard-hitting’ quality. The features are very well placed too – Sam Sparro in particular delivers an excellent vocal performance to accompany Star Slinger’s trance-like guitar on ‘Losing Sleep’, making you wonder where he’s been all this time since ‘Black and Gold’.
Hip-hop’s influence should not be downplayed, either. The chord stabs on ‘Slow Love’ are reminiscent of Timbaland’s early hits, smacking you in the face as McMorrow’s honeyed vocals trail off at the end of every bar or so. ‘We Could Be More’, on the other hand, pulls DJ Dahi’s favourite move: switching out the snare for a tambourine to add a bit of extra zing. Finally, there is ‘Pardon’ featuring Tungi Ige – a bona fide hip-hop track. The instrumental has that wistful ‘Late Registration’ vibe, complete with decadent piano and pitched-up vocal moans. Tungi Ige does his thing too – acting like he’s chillin’ when really he’s killing it.
All in all, Star Slinger delivers a brilliant sequence of tracks, all of which could get heavy radio spins providing they get enough attention. So, you know what to do: listen to it, share it and – most importantly – enjoy it.