Datastar are an EDM songwriting and production collective based in Queens, New York City. Their members are wide ranging, from a DJ to a record store owner. Their music is similarly eclectic, encompassing various genres including techno, house, future house, pop, rock and hip hop, often with an undercurrent of the psychedelic. Most of their music is instrumental thus far, with use of vocoders and samples thrown into the mix.
This EP, Don’t Panic, consists of four tracks that are all essentially in the EDM genre, though each a little different in style. The EP starts out with the title track and it’s the perfect introduction to their signature sound.
It begins with an immediately memorable swirling synth melody, before futuristic vocoder-infused vocals inform us to “Slide…bounce….don’t panic!” over crisp snare rolls and a pulsing four to the floor kick drum groove. As the track progresses, we hear a fantastic arpeggiated synth melody that goes off to some weird and wonderful places sonically the second time around. It’s an excellent house track full of energy and musical personality, making a fine opener.
Just Like That shows their more psychedelic side, a laid back future house track with an infectious, bouncy bassline that brought to mind the modern future house classic Gecko by Oliver Heldens. Set to a languid 2/4 house beat, the track is built upon intertwining layers of syncopated and swelling pad synths, house piano and the recurring title hook, a whispered vocal. The track is arranged to perfection, with the various sections leading into each other seamlessly. The subtle use of dynamics means the music sounds fresh to the very end.
Third track Nardo is based around a three-chord progression on top of which is an array of catchy synth melodies and insistent piano backed by an energetic house beat and a simple, mesmeric bassline for the most part. In certain parts, it breaks down to an ambient style section replete with tranquil, blissed out synths and an exotic, Spanish guitar type melody that conjures images of golden beaches and crystal clear oceans. The contrast with the main upbeat section is highly effective, and this section has a particularly danceable beat which should go down well in the clubs.
The final track Blackheart is the darkest and moodiest sounding one here, built around a brooding, ominous sounding synth riff and a meaty, 2/4 beat. This one brought to mind the intense instrumentals of mid-period techno pioneers 808 State. The music has a decided hypnotic quality that is enhanced to a high degree in a section that cleverly combines a triplet rhythm in the synth over the strident beat. This track has a definite different flavour to the rest of the EP which has a more general ‘party vibe’ and shows they have the potential to move in all sorts of creative directions in the future.
Overall, this is a consistently superb EDM EP by a collective of talented writers and producers. Across the four tracks they display a wealth of creativity whilst remaining within the realms of commercial accessibility. Every track here will be popular on the dance floor but the music’s richness of detail and nuance means it’s equally as enjoyable just to listen to. On this evidence, Datastar have a stellar future ahead of them.
VERDICT= 9.1 out of 10