Dark Star Safari is an art-rock electro-acoustic supergroup, featuring five innovative sonic alchemists – Norwegian electronics wizards Jan Bang and Erik Honoré (co-founders of the Punkt festival) and guitarist Eivind Aarset, German drummer Samuel Rohrer and new addition to this band, Norwegian-American electronics player John Derek Bishop (aka Tortusa). Dark Star Safari refines on its sophomore album «Walk Through Lightly» the unique art of conceiving poetic, enigmatic and surprisingly organic songs, penned by Honoré and sung by Bang. These songs were sculpted out of collective improvisations, and all conjure shadows of memory, clouds of dreaming and silhouettes of foreboding. You can trace this band’s articulate and elegant, nuanced and subtle aesthetics to the works of Sidsel Endresen, David Sylvian, Laurie Anderson or Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molvær, with whom the musicians of Dark Star Safari collaborated before.
«Walk Through Lightly» was recorded at Candybomber Studio Berlin in October 2019, but its post-production lasted throughout 2020 at Punkt Studio Kristiansand, The Green Room and at the home studios of the five musicians in Oslo, Stavanger and Berlin. Honoré did the final mixing in the beginning of 2021.
«Walk Through Lightly» is frosted over with a Nordic sense of spaciousness and melancholy, but also with a sense of comforting intimacy despite the foreboding lyrics. The austere and reserved, sampled and looped-based soundscapes serve well the smoky yet vulnerable delivery of Bang and the introspective yet impressionistic emotional imagery of the ten songs. These songs reflect on the realization of our great losses throughout life, or the sense of being lost, life-long regrets and painful memories, as well as the continuous bodily decay. These songs offer an unorthodox perspective on manhood and masculinity («We’re born / To rule the wild…» in «Patria») and twist common images of manhood («last man standing» to «A revolution foiled / Crushed by our fears / Became our destiny» in «Portraits of You»). The songs also suggest coming to grips with sudden transformations on both micro and macro levels – internal states of mind or physical crossroads («Poems that explore / Their silence / Crush their violence / Now their time ends // Move from sword to word / From him to her / Gilded cage and beyond» in «Measured Response», «Dark soul / Let him in / Black hole / Let him in» in «Father’s Day» and «Now we have less time / To breathe / To love / We’re disembodied / Waning / Forced to shed our skin» in «Disemoboedied».
But Honoré’s songs also radiate fragile passion and a belief in the healing power of love («If you were never born / I would have carried a sorrow / That I could not explain… If you were torn away / I would still carry your essence / Like a phantom pain» in «Invocation», dedicated to his partner Greta, with a beautiful trumpet solo of Arve Henriksen or «Love will lead / These wayward feet / To where you are» in the title-song ), and the mystical sensations that dreams can offer («Cutting ties / Cutting ties / Where mystic wild clouds / Are born / Of our dreams»).
These suggestive and inspiring songs and soundscapes will linger long in your memory, long after listening to them. Like good, old single-malt whiskey, they become better, more refined and wiser every time you take a safari to the dark star where they were born.
Jan Bang (v, live sampling, samples, p), Erik Honoré (synth, samples, synth b, v), Eivind Aarset (g, elec, b), John Derek Bishop (live sampling, v, b, field rec), Samuel Rohrer (dr, perc, elec, modular synth), Vilde&Inga (b, vio), Arve Henriksen (tp), Emanuel Birkeland-Bang (drum prog), Inge Breistein (s)