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Dark Sky: In Brackets EP

After a successful run of singles from Anthony Naples and Alex Burkat, Brooklyn party-cum-label Mister Saturday Night looks across the sea for the first UK addition to its house roster. London trio Dark Sky may seem an odd choice, given their slew of nocturnal (but excellent) bass deviations over the last few years. However the group prove themselves an unexpectedly canny choice on In Brackets, adroitly travelling softer house pastures without ever sacrificing the quality and detail of their previous productions.

The title track is unquestionably the gem of this collection, where delicate synths flutter over a solid kick and slick percussive details. It’s a credit to Dark Sky’s talent that they seem so at home with these deeper sounds, conjuring a twilight mood piece which takes off beautifully at the three-minute mark, calling to mind the more soothing sides of Four Tet or Koreless. While the opener’s naked beauty is never quite repeated, final cut Rare Bloom‘s mesmerising synthwork and clattering organic beat patterns are sure to impress, as off-kilter bass swipes add subtle tension the the track’s taut second half.

The EP’s two central tracks, while hardly revelatory, continue to show off Dark Sky’s lush sound design, with the deeper 5am playing host to a field of spaciously arranged synth noodles and a meandering bassline over skittering beats that play with 2step configurations. While undeniably pretty, the lack of structural progression ultimately proves a hindrance over the track’s runtime. Finally Voices opens with a dusty live-drum loop, later adorned with modulating choral samples and a snappy 4/4.

Given the attention to percussion present in all of Dark Sky’s releases to date, it’s refreshing – not to mention impressive – to see the group take to melody with such dedication. While it may not result in some of the trio’s ‘heaviest’ work or even their best dance floor material, In Brackets serves as yet another reminder of this trio’s elegant sound-craft and their shared gift for incorporating detail and mood.