Deadstar is the one-man “bedroom project” from Nihal Anand so I took a listen to the 6 track (well 1 vocal sample track and 5 instrumental tracks) All My Friends Are Dreamers E.P. So without knowing what I was gonna get I hit the play button and sat back. So after Track 1 'Beginnings' I was still none the wiser as it is a vocal track that has lifted samples from somewhere but is still kind of interesting, however this may be more down to Deadstar 777 being unknown to me at this stage. Luckily for me once Track 2 'Flying Whales' comes around I am more than pleasantly surprised by the structure of the music on this track. Delving into the remaining 4 tracks I just gotta say that that everything about this seems right.
Sometimes when writing instrumental music there can be a tendency to over elaborate the music and think that it needs padding out to compensate for lack of groove or vocals or even the standard song structures, which seems to result in long ass boring songs. Thankfully Nihal doesn’t do this and the songs weigh in around the 4-5 min mark and this is a perfect fit. The songs are hypnotic dreamscapes that have a real trance like feel to them and peppered with vocal samples that fit in extremely well. The tone of the bass and the clarity of the guitar are really, really good for a bedroom production. 'Look, The Stars Are Out' is a perfect example of this with its smooth arpeggios and electronic syncopated stabs.
The only negative for me is the programming/production of the drums and in particular on 'Flying Whales' where they sound disjointed and actually out of time in some parts. I’m not sure if this was intended but it kinda distracts from the great music. For future reference on how to get epic drum tones I would recommend Nihal checking out anything by Geoff Topley but in particular Team Horse or Cruz releases as he really knows how to squeeze massive sounds from a drum machine.
The drums do improve for the rest of the EP and doesn’t detract too much from the aural goodness inside. Track 5, ‘Alone In Wonderland/Lost’, is a particularly good tune and in parts reminds me of early And So I Watch You From Afar recordings, which would never be a bad thing, albeit a cleaner, less heavy version. Another favourite track for me is the last song ‘Cat Dreams’ an Eno tinged soundscape in the style of Deep Blue Day with really beautiful playing.
I haven’t yet checked out any other offerings on Deadstar’s Soundcloud page but based on this I definitely will be as All my friends are dreamers is my cup of Joe and all wrapped up in a nice striking piece of art work as well. I really enjoyed this EP and can’t wait to hear more, hopefully with a bigger drum sound. Inspiring stuff from the bedroom for your pleasure.