Stimming, Ben Watt & Julia Biel:
Bright Star is Buzzin' Fly's fiftieth single and thus a justifiable cause for celebration. As such, the release finds label head Ben Watt collaborating with Hamburg's Stimming and folk-jazz vocalist Julia Biel, who guested a short while ago on Watt's own “Guinea Pig.” Having started out as a musical sketch by Stimming for which Watt wrote lyrics, Biel ultimately contributed her vocal to two contrasting Stimming productions.
“Sunrise Mix” first digs into a slinky, percussion-heavy pulse before adding in synths, ringing guitar textures, and a smokey vocal by Biel that seems to channel Billie Holiday in lagging so languorously behind the beat. The melancholy cut draws its tension from the contrast between the instrumental part, whose surge continually escalates, and the unhurried drawl of the vocal, and the trio recounts a delectable narrative that reaches its peak with Biel's repeated utterance of the title. Pursuing a less urgent and rather dub-like pace, the “Sunset Mix” strips the backing down to give Biel's soulful vocal more prominence, which emotes radiantly during the gloriously ascendant chorus (“Lead on, bright star / Lead on to the night”). The instrumental touches present on this torch song treatment—the piano accompanying the chorus, the horns that unfurl after the chorus, and the constant stream of percussive textures—give it a richness that makes it equal in impact to the other. If the less clubby “Sunset Mix” is the more moving of the two, the “Sunrise Mix” showcases Buzzin' Fly's talent for crafting dance tracks of distinction and personality, with nothing else sounding quite like Bright Star . (To celebrate its fiftieth release, the label will issue the twelve-inch version with a pull-out poster and lyrics insert.)