Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer (Domino, 2015)

February 21, 2015 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer

Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer

The newest Dan Deacon album is one of his poppiest yet, with clearer (yet still heavily vocoded) vocals, and less of the ensemble orchestration of his past 2 albums. It’s still not quite a return to Spiderman Of The Rings era; this is the older, wiser Dan who doesn’t build songs from cartoon samples anymore. More lyrics that seem to seek transcendentalism, and mostly higher tempos (a few tracks are a steady midtempo, but they build towards something rather than just head immediately for frantic release). A few tracks are listed as instrumentals in the liner notes but they still have aggressively chopped up vocal samples in lieu of lyrics, and they manage to say a lot in terms of mood and feeling. “Meme Generator” in particular has a really nice blend of a tough midtempo electro beat and pretty melodies. Some of the beats and chopped samples seem to have a bit of a hip-hop (particularly Southern/booty/ghettotech) influence to them, but just in terms of tempo and pitch, not so much that it seems like he’s overtly trying to make that type of music. It works really well, actually. There’s also a slight classic rock theme here, at least in the first track (which mentions Tom Petty’s “Into The Great Wide Open” song/video) and the fact that the last track is called “Steely Blues” (Steely Dan has a song called “Deacon Blues”). “Take It To The Max” comes closest to the orchestrated maximal-minimalism of his last 2 albums, building up a fast polyrhythmic drum pattern and zapping you with a flurry of chopped-up samples at the track’s climax. “Steely Blues” also builds up with a fast tempo, but seems much more relaxed and light, and ends with a very long sax fadeout. Once again, Dan has created something highly joyous yet actually quite serious, and his return to the Magic Stick in Detroit in 3 months is highly anticipated.

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