Slovenian post-dub duo Darla Smoking inhabits a fictitious musical landscape defined by hypnagogic transglobal samples, intricate modular explorations, bass science and sturdy drumming.
The duo comprising electronics whizz Nace Kušer and seasoned drummer/experimental musician Jaka Berger – Brgs creates a geographically undefined kind of dub-infused “ethnic music”. Darla Smoking is a scion of Jon Hassell’s “Fourth World” music, “a unified primitive/futuristic sound combining features of world ethnic styles with advanced electronic techniques.” Still, its roots grow from industrial and noise-adjacent aesthetics in the vein of esoteric music makers such as African Head Charge, Muslimgauze and Shackleton. An important influence is also the French dub scene, especially the Jarring Effects label with bands like High Tone and EZ3kiel.
Darla Smoking’s sound is based on dub technology, sampladelic practices, traditional musics from around the globe, personal field recordings and occasionally live vocals. Employing modular synths, sequencers, samplers and an extended drum kit, Kušer and Berger have a shamanistic approach to production. Their “chiaroscuro” music puts forth spellbinding dialogues between darker hues and more celestial sounds, scuzzy industrial beats and hazed-out soundscapes, hypnotic melancholy jams and heavily saturated bangers.
Darla Smoking first shook the Slovenian underground with the debut album Big Bug (Kapa Records, 2017), a sincere tribute to various global cultures presented through a more traditional dub lens. It was followed by the collaborative rap project Pass The Bless, released in 2019 on the Austrian label Well Gedacht, which features Turkish beatmaker, guitarist and producer Levni, Palestinian rapper/producer Stormtrap Asifeh, Turkish rapper/producer Ethnique Punch and Iranian rapper/beatmaker Naji.
The duo closed 2019 with the album Extinct – a multifaceted blend of dance-oriented dub, electronica and ethnic music conceptualised as a wake-up call for peoples on the brink of extinction like the Māori, Aboriginal Australians and Native Americans. As a politically charged musical act, the duo showcases its views both through track titles and the use of fragmented samples, voices and field recordings that spice up their thickly layered productions. Darla Smoking also collaborates with local electronic music producers. Their tracks were remixed by artists like .čunfa, Lifecutter and Dubdiggerz.
The band’s upcoming LP New Mescaline heralds a more hopeful sonic and worldview trajectory. The new album, a dubwise sonic tapestry of Indian ragas, desert blues, Balinese gamelan and Iranian jazz, will take on a more radio-friendly form.
The transportative music of Darla Smoking takes you on endless journeys through vast inner landscapes, sacred sites and dreamt up worlds that simultaneously feel mysterious and familiar. Somewhat enigmatic and cultish yet with a clearly internationalist political agenda, the message behind Darla Smoking’s music is clear – we can only build a better world as a collective entity
After passing the bless on latest album, in 2019 Darla Smoking presened their new album “Extinct”, dedicated to all the wanishing live on our planet. “Extinct” will try to awake and remind again that the battles against extinction from some decades ago are still there and haven’t been getting any attention and help in solving the situations. We still have Native Americans without their prairie, Tibetian people being forced to become Chinese, Maori and Aborigini tribes drowning in the big city’s slums, massacre in Amazonia and the last sheppard in Bulgaria who is being sucked into globalisation. It goes all the way to the plastic soundscape under the Arctic sea. All in all the new album will spit out the dying screams and helpless anger while we all quietly watch the world blow in our faces. Extinct is the new dead.
Kada govorimo o zvučnom protestu i aktivizmu – drugi album slovenačkog dvojca Darla Smoking “Extinct” je verovatno najnepomirljiviji (a i najrokerskiji) album u ovoj niši iz prošle godine. Multi-kulti paleta sa prethodnika “Big Bug” preneta je i na ovo izdanje, ali se na njemu umesto vedrijeg futurističkog inkorporisanja panetničkih halucinacija u digitalnom, post-truth dobu nižu slike (prirodnih) katastrofa i tribalnih urlika onih kojima je apokalipsa otpočela mnogo pre nizanja tužnih i saosećajnih smajlića na Facebook feedu. Grleni dronovi koji se razležu u ambijentalnoj nadnaravnoj procesiji “Ghosts of the High Plateau” samo su uvod za “Sandcry” u kojoj se mračnije slutnje ovog albuma polako obistinjavaju, paranoično hodajući pustinjolikim okolišom sintizajerskih uboda, ubitačne ritam sekcije i briljantno inkorporisanih vokalnih mantri. “Chainsaw massacre in Amazonia” nas vodi u mračno srce bolsonarovskog tretmana amazonske prašume, dok briljantna Hoodoo spaja industrijalno Scorn-ovsko dub šizenje sa kriptičnim borbenim pokličima, a “Son of a Goat” zvuči kao doom metal verzija iste. Mogu samo da zamislim koliko Darla zvuči moćno sa ovim repertoarom uživo – sve u vezi ovog izdanja je toliko suvereno evokativno i zvučno potentno, te je jedini logični završetak, posle siline svih ovih eksplozivnih emanacija iz nevidljivo-razorenog sveta minijatura “Drowning in my Tears”, nalik molitvi za otvorene rane izeksploatisane i nezbrinute planete koja doslovno plače iz svih svojih pora.
At a time when old habits are dying and new ideas are being born, Darla Smoking, the fearless Slovenian explorers of traditional music and field recordings, enveloped in a cacophonous dub haze, will return to Šiška for the first time since warming up for Forest...
Happy to be a part of benefit compilation to help Lebanon This massive compilation has 4 parts, it includes tons of artists from around the globe and has already managed to collect nice sum to help organizations in Beirut... thanks to Cedrik Fermontfor including music...
We were smokin from the rooftop of Muzej Sodobne Umetnosti Metelkova in celebration of 51 years of our beloved Radio Student 89,3MHz
Working on a new album…