Album of the week: Daphni – ‘Jiaolong’ [Jiaolong]
Caribou’s rise from backpacks and vinyl backracks to festival mainstage was one of the most inspiring tales of internet climbing. Of course, it was on the back of a terrific album (‘Swim’), and a terrific idea (“take the riffs of collisionist dance music, construct them like a traditional band, then play them with a electronic instruments”). Daphni, Dan Snaith’s off-Caribou house project, has an album out this week, half of new stuff, half of previously released material, and it’s absolutely, absolutely terrific; a free, instinctive, fresh and clever album that surpasses ‘Swim’ as his career high.
‘Jiaolong’ takes the grammar and textures of house and works them simply and imaginatively, tying them to musical cousins, kissing and distant. Describing the process of adoring dance culture, he said “I’d fallen back in love with moments in small, dark clubs when a DJ puts on a piece of music that not only can you not identify, but that until you heard it, you could not have conceived of existing”, yet oddly, it’s the moments of identification that resonate most here. The footprints of African dance-drumming, the undulating machine tones of Can and the free space of Theo Parrish are all half-heard throughout the album, moments of a fluid rhythmic moment between experiment and communion. Year highlight record, totally. [CRJ]
Tame Impala – ‘Lonerism’ [Modular]
Pop classicist Kevin Parker leads his Tame Impala project into even more psychedelic territory with ‘Lonerism’, a record that shows just as much emphasis on the new as the old.
Parker’s previous record ‘Innerspeaker’ was indeed one steeped in the musical history of 60s pop: the song structures were simple and catchy, the sounds wholeheartedly trippy, and the vocal similarities to John Lennon inescapable. ‘Lonerism’ aims to retain this psychedelic pop influence, but also attempts to cast a revealing light on Parker’s awareness of what is musically relevant in the present moment. From the quintessential psychedelia of Apocalypse Dreams, which sonically washes completely together towards the end, to the XTC-evoking Music to Walk Home By – a reference point which shows that Tame Impala are inclined towards inventive, unique pop in general, and not just towards that of the 60s – it becomes clear that ‘Lonerism’ is an endlessly listenable record which concerns itself with the beauty that lies within the dreams of solitude (hence the title and much of the lyrical content), and the importance of simultaneously having an eye on the past and the present when creating pop music.[MS]
Kreidler – ‘Den’ [Bureau B]
Weaving a physical space from their sound, the latest album from Dusseldorf-based electronic trio Kriedler is an evocative and echoing masterpiece. With minimal percussion – the band reportedly considered making an album entirely without drums when they began to conceive ‘Den’ – the overriding sense is one of hollowness, allowing blinks and boops to ring through the empty and yet enchanting space. When the beats are minimised, it seems that suddenly each individual beat matters so much more, and so this is an album which has its listener craning to catch each individual burst of noise, and revelling in each small, gratifying release in what is overall a tense, tight stream of music. ‘Den’ is a deeply contemplative record, building a space inside itself for you to climb in, and to listen with a quiet, awed reverence. [AC]
Various Artists – ‘I Love Grime’ [Rinse]
Grime’s canonisation moment never came. That could well be seen as a good thing – its lack of a definitive box-set or Channel 4 documentary or Q Magazine Top 100 Bars cover feature meant that legions of internet archivists or pirate romantics could build their own histories of those heady early 2000s days, explanations for stagnation, and disputes over the scene’s supposed rebirth today. However, this document, curated by Rinse FM’s Spyro and Sian Anderson does a fair incredible job of combining classicism (cornerstones from Pulse X to Know We to Eskimo to Ps & Qs are present and correct) with a subjective-enough glance to take in the scene’s many sides. The final word or not, this is as classic-packed a mixtape as you could hope for. [CRJ]
Ty Segall – Twins [Drag City]
It’s a great week for rock music this week: not only have Tame Impala soared over the sophomore slump entirely by staying high up in the clouds with new LP ‘Lonerism’, but the prolific, garage rock maestro Ty Segall has provided another addition to his ever-expanding discography. The brilliantly inspired ‘Twins’, his third release of the year, has Segall doing what he does best, with many of the songs on the album picking and choosing their own selected piece of influence from the annals of rock music’s history and running with each tune brilliantly. From the frantic, speedy concern of You’re The Doctor, to the instantaneously classic pop sound of The Hill (which has an extra dose of fuzzed-out, visionary guitar soloing for good measure), and all the tracks in between, ‘Twins’ is a record which showcases Segall’s ability to keep the heart of rock’n‘roll very much alive in a modern context, via a surprisingly high, as well as consistent, work-rate. [MS]