Release Date: Jul 21, 2017
Record label: Fabric
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Fabric mixes always feel like they test the mettle of the artists making them, revealing deeper levels to their methods and personalities. Fabriclive 93 is no exception: The mix format allows Dan Snaith to play with the form of Daphni's functional dance music with results that are even more hypnotic and kinetic than on the project's debut, Jiaolong. Along the way, Snaith solves the DJ's eternal question -- what comes next in the mix? -- by making his own tracks as well as a few edits of existing songs.
Caribou's Dan Snaith continues his trek from psych pop's backwaters to the heart of the dancefloor with this mix entirely made from his Daphni project's productions. This sort of tracklist narcissism would once have been ill-judged on club albums, but now that they have been overshadowed by not-mixed mixtapes and streamed playlists, it's a spectacular act of generosity to give up 27 new songs to a DJ mix. Snaith's joy at intermingling delicate melodies with steroidal rhythms and scything hi-hats persists, and he delivers several moments of handbag-dropping euphoria that will thrill whether you're listening on a laptop or in Fabric's room one.
Daphni -- the club-prioritizing alias of Caribou's Dan Snaith -- returns with its first full body of work since the critical acclaim of 2012's JIAOLONG. Initially, the Daphni moniker enabled Snaith to produce tracks strictly intended for his DJ sets. Often "made for the purpose of playing out that weekend," Snaith returns to this functional philosophy with Fabriclive 93. Fabriclive 93 is composed entirely of new and original material, incorporating 23 new tracks and four edits to mark his return to the Daphni project.
On 2012's Jiaolong, Dan Snaith invited us to hear dance music with fresh ears. The debut album under his Daphni alias seemed to celebrate the pure mechanics of club music: the friction between samples and synthesis, the push-and-pull of a good groove, the brainless joy of repetition. At first, the album's follow-up, a Fabriclive mix made of Snaith's own productions and edits, hints at similar goals.
Around 2011, Dan Snaith stepped away from his band, Caribou, to focus instead on the tricky mechanics of making dancefloors combust. As Daphni, he began moonlighting as a club DJ and releasing edits and drum-heavy remixes. Since then, Caribou itself have moved toward Daphni's own gravitational pull: Our Love hewed more closely to leftfield house than to the sounds of his previous work.
Now approaching a century's worth of entries, the Fabriclive series of mixes has become a rite of passage, a badge of honour, a status symbol, for having made an impression on the house/techno production or DJ circuit. With its 93rd entry they have enlisted Dan Snaith aka Daphni - although he's probably best known under his 'band' name Caribou. On one level this is a slightly odd choice for a Fabriclive mix, as Snaith is better known for his live performances with his band, and has only released one album of techno-oriented material as Daphni; 2012's JIAOLONG.
Dan Snaith has always used his numerous projects to give voice to the sounds that most inspire him. His work as Daphni is perhaps his most freewheeling, proving Snaith can not only write and sing effervescent dance pop (such as in Caribou) but can act as resident club DJ maestro. Fabriclive 93, his second record as Daphni, comes in the form of 23 original tracks as well as four edits for the Fabriclive series.
Begun as a means of making music to channel improvisatory immediacy, Dan Snaith's Daphni project has fast been reaching the levels of notoriety enjoyed by his first group Caribou in the five years since its founding. Where Caribou's live show and studio recordings are a complex interplay of arrangement, instrumentation and melody, straddling the line between movement and introspection, Daphni is a one-man show squarely aimed at the dancefloor. Snaith's debut record as Daphni, 2012's 'Jiaolong', was a rumbling confluence of acid synths and compressed percussion, topped off with soul vocal samples, West African rhythms, and twanging electronica.
The last time I saw Dan Snaith, aka Daphni aka head honcho of Canadian electro rock band Caribou, DJ live was a few years ago at Sónar Reykjavik. After having my senses defiled by the buzzkill of seeing Diplo attempt to DJ, I went upstairs and caught Snaith's performance, whereupon I was treated to a set from a man who has a surefooted sense of groove and one hell of an intuition as to what tracks go together. It's this off-the-cuff intuition that has served him well as Daphni, a project intended to scratch the itch of his passion towards the immediacy and energy of the dancefloor that wasn't being satisfied with Caribou.