No we’re not reviewing this on the eve of Christmas because the first sound you hear on the album is a sleigh bell, that’s just a festive coincidence. The debut full length from Detroit musician / DJ Jay Daniel is a directional shift for an artist known for more hard hitting techno productions. Fear not though, the elements that have made previous releases as impactful as they were are still there, just with a new glaze.
The playful start of ‘Last Of The Dogons’ before you are eased into the blissful ‘Paradise Valley’ is possibly a little misleading of what’s to come. The scene start to get a lot deeper and mysterious as you journey through the next two tracks, before your head is lifted back above ground on ‘Squeaky Maya’. You’ll find yourself bouncing between emotions for the rest of the album, from skittish rhythms (see ‘$hake It Down’ and ‘Boolin’) to more spacious textures (i.e. ‘Knowledge Of Selfie’ and ‘Yemaya’). Whilst the balance between styles works on average across the album, at times this back and forth can feel a little hard to follow, but don’t let this detract from your experience of the tracks in isolation.
What’s clear from this release is that Daniel’s skills exist way beyond the programming of drums. He is more than capable of developing live beats too as evidenced by the range of drumming skills exhibited throughout. Once these are nourished with his blend of complementary (and often also live) sounds we are gifted with inviting soundscapes that give you a deep sense of connection to the compositions. Where he has taken his music on this album also opens up the arenas that his music can be enjoyed. You could happily let this album spin whilst sat in your favourite arm chair, equally these tracks could change the shape and emotion of a club with the flutter of a high hat.
‘Broken Knows’ is out now on Ninja Tune.