To some of you, Daniel Avery’s very distinct dance floor flavor isn’t all that new. The 27-year-old producer and resident DJ at Fabric has been doing the rounds on the electronic music circuit and indeed the outer reaches of the known blogosphere for quite a while. But the striking novelty of his debut album lies not in an upcoming talent’s take on the sonic zeitgeist, but in a versatile artist’s singular departure from it.
Underground dance music in the 00s was, to an overwhelming degree, a rediscovery of the dense, organic properties of the analog synthesizer. It was about unleashing the idiosyncratic potential of warped, hissing machines created by eccentric dreamers interested in forging a new path in sound. And by letting these machines breathe and allowing once again their mysterious, illicit weirdness to flourish in the face of supposedly lifeless software synths, a new movement came to its full, fruity fruition. Cue a billion neo-electro-disco records revering that special period from 78-82 where the rules were bent out of shape by masterful mustachioed mavericks like Giorgio Moroder.
Daniel Avery is undoubtedly indebted to this particular strain of synth fetishism. However, where the previous generation of synth revivalists sought to let their machines do the talking for them, as it were, Avery seems more interested in whipping these old, contrary constructions into shape and getting them fit for his lean, dark and physically demanding electronic odysseys.
And lean seems like the key word here; there’s no overblown, proggy synth-noodling on ‘Drone Logic’, only sharp, angular, ethereal riffs, bleeps and drums, evoking that special feeling of getting utterly lost in a 90s warehouse rave or experiencing those precious transcendent moments at a My Bloody Valentine gig.
Moreover, the debut feels like an actual album in the original sense rather than a collection of dance tracks thrown together for the benefit of a label wanting to introduce rock fans to dance music.
It’s ambitious, intelligent, riddled with attitude and, of course, on repeat at AIAIAI HQ. Have a thorough listen to one of the standout tracks below:
'Drone Logic' is out today on Phantasy.