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Hotel Death Star - Single Review: You're Not Jesus

03 Nov 2020 // A review by Jamie Denton

Bali based Hotel Death Star is a collaborative EDM project between expat singer-songwriter Phil Stoodley (perhaps best known for his solo work and his early rock band Stoods) and Bali-national producer-composer-multi-instrumentalist Andreas Arianto. In contrast to the guitar-based rock and pop that dominated Phil Stoodley’s earlier projects, Hotel Death Star’s first single, You’re Not Jesus, sees the pair dive into electronica, especially deep house territory.

While You’re Not Jesus establishes the main sample, keys, and beat early, this track really shines in its mid-late stages. During these later moments, the shimmering guitar and keyboard lines gently pepper the track, providing a counterpoint and balancing the noisy, distorted bass and big, floor-filling beat. The combined effect of these contrasting elements provides intriguing ‘light and shade’ dynamics.

You’re Not Jesusmain vocal sample originates from an incident while kayaking on the North Bali ocean. According to the supplied press materials, “as one friend swam off into the deep, another was caught on video screaming a warning, “You’re not Jesus!””. While we can only presume that the incident ended ok, that moment provided a fantastic sample for Hotel Death Star to play with. Indeed, this sample does many duties within the song, including maintaining the overall momentum and progression, marking the ‘chorus’, and punctuating specific and carefully identified moments.

As a debut release, You’re Not Jesus is a solid statement of intent. Hotel Death Star prove that they have what it takes to fill a dance-floor with heaving, sweaty bodies while also bending some of the established rules of EDM. Simultaneously sounding cinematic and intimate, You’re Not Jesus is a well-constructed piece of sonic art and one that both demands and rewards repeated listens.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Hotel Death Star

Forging the skills of singer-songwriter Phil Stoodley and composer-producer Andreas Arianto, this collab was spawned in the cold mountains of snow-drenched Japan. Caught in a storm, Phil scratched out melodic beats in the room of a hotel that inhaled the weather, rather than protected him from it.

Bringing the rough recordings back to his home in Bali, Phil teamed up with Andreas and together they shaped the new sounds into a writhing pulse of deep-house while keeping the grit of its birthplace firmly etched within its grinding drones and beats.

Their first single, ‘You’re Not Jesus’ found its title whilst kayaking with friends as the sun rose over the North Bali ocean. As one friend swam off into the deep, another was caught on video screaming a warning, “You’re not Jesus!” The audio immortalised in Hotel Death Star’s first release, looped as a sample to mark the track’s chorus.

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