Rapidly building a name for himself as a unique figure in an overcrowded pool of producer talent, Liverpool/Brighton-based Dauwd returns with a new EP, ‘Whats There’, once again teaming up with the brilliant Pictures Music label.
In general, ‘Whats There’ is a thicker, deeper sounding interpretation of his impressive Pictures Music debut, the ‘Could It Be / Shimmer’ single. Where that release had introduced Dauwd’s love of the warm tones and otherworldly ambience, ‘Whats There’ shows that he can take this to the next level in terms of production values and composition.
The title track’s bouncing skip of a beat and distant, reverberating cries constantly build and reconstruct themselves into a rattling tambourine here, a nonsensical lyric there, and are spread with a thick layer of those characteristically warm keys. A healthy use of the pitch bend wheel throughout helps create a smooth mortar that binds the track together. Dauwd has of late made fans out of, among others, Gilles Peterson and Caribou, and the sounds on ‘Whats There’ would not appear out of place on the former’s Brownswood label, or side-by-side with the latter’s similarly rhythmic and spectral pieces.
‘Acireams’ shows yet more musical proficiency, beginning with the drifting patter of wooden percussion and synth pads, before gradually heading into a driving interpretation of melodic tech house, occasionally breaking down in cascades of vocal samples and pulsing chords before gratifyingly bringing the beat back.
Recent live spots alongside the likes of Crystal Fighters have certainly not hindered Dauwd’s development as a producer (indeed, he gives a representative reworking of the band’s catchy track ‘Plage’ that’s up now on Soundcloud), as ‘Whats There’s masterful closer ‘Ikopol’ demonstrates. The track is all gloriously warm chords and choked vocal hits: just half-syllables, as if someone is about to say something and then thinks better of it. Soft percussion rolls and an echoing xylophone are thrown into the mix, adding more than just points of interest along the impeccably arranged five minute journey that plays out with a lamenting plea for “arms up”. ‘Ikopol’ is one of the standout tracks on a recent Adult Swim compilation entitled ‘Unclassified’, an apt name for a collection of ‘future music’ that contains tracks from STRKT, Zomby and Lukid amongst others.
Bearing all this in mind, you could probably do a lot worse than getting yourself down to Plastic People on the 25th of this month to see Dauwd live alongside Appleblim and Mosca. Or at least copping this EP when it drops…
‘Whats There’ is released via Pictures Music on November 21.