Release Date: Oct 16, 2012
Record label: Merge
Though he began his career producing pastoral percussive assaults and kraut-leaning jams as Manitoba/Caribou, by the time of his 2010 album, Swim, it was obvious that Dan Snaith was increasingly interested in dance music. Not only was Snaith himself becoming increasingly active as a DJ, but Swim's immersive but propellent sonic pounce sounded like the kind of mesmeric psych-out that would have been at home on a label like Border Community. Around the same time, a slight psychological split occurred, with Snaith adopting a new guise, Daphni, for remix work, edits and delirious tracks like "Ye Ye," his contribution to a split 12-inch with long-time ally Four Tet.
While Daniel Snaith’s last album as Caribou overshadowed his Daphni project, it was his song with the latter, ‘Ye Ye’, with its vertiginous sheet-metal synths, that really flexed his extreme power over murky dancefloors. The rest of ‘Jialong’ also smashes all of the pleasure buttons: on ‘Cos-Ber-Zam – Ne Noya’ and ‘Yes I Know’, Snaith plays the excavator, sensitively re-editing obscure samples into tight-knit house music, while ‘Pairs’ is tropical disco that would see dance-minded indie bands rip their Hawaiian shirts open in bliss. Ultimately, ‘Jialong’ is the sound of a producer having the time of his life – and boy oh boy is that infectious.Louise Brailey .
Caribou has made a career out of exploring various meeting points between psychedelic rock and electronic music, but even back in his early days when he was known as Manitoba, he was DJing on the side for kicks. That sideline became an opportunity to record tracks specifically for his DJ gigs, but until recently these never made it beyond his own personal collection. However, the joy he was getting from cranking out these raw, minimalist dance-floor tools and the response they got in the clubs spurred him to invent the Daphni moniker as an outlet for all the creative energy that didn't fit the Caribou mandate.
If you listen to enough dance music, you'll come to treasure concrete ideas. You know them when you hear them, because dance music at its most rote and workaday is often more about execution, about DJs having conversations with other DJs, about having enough material to fill a marathon set and yet another podcast. Dan Snaith has been dipping his toes in these waters.
DaphniJiaolong[Jiaolong; 2012]By Brendan Frank; December 6, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetDan Snaith is nothing if not versatile. From his transition from Manitoba to Caribou, and now to Daphni, his sudden bouts of musical ennui leave him constantly searching for new ways to hijack his own sound. On Jiaolong, his first release as Daphni, Snaith extends his reach beyond both of his previous personas and wanders closer to the sweaty epicenter of the dance floor.
Setting a straight dance record loose into the iTunes jungle begs one question beyond others: how do you take the sweat-studded undulations of 4 A. M. nightclubs and compress them into the thin, white wires that feed our earbuds? The late night transcendence about which Dan Snaith waxes publicly poetic might certainly be real for him and anyone who's lurched along with him into the raw hours of tomorrow, but is it really something that can be tucked into our phones alongside the to-do lists and time-wasting minigames that steer us through the blank tedium of everyday life? Certainly not in full, but there's no question that good dance tracks hold up even when picked up and moved around the subway, the office, the grocery store.
Daphni, the more dance-oriented project of Caribou's Dan Snaith, is bold and direct where his main project is intricate and subtle. While the different name lets Snaith's fans know not to expect more Caribou, on Jiaolong it's still kind of remarkable just how different his approach is. With samples aplenty, raw-sounding keyboards, and looped beats, Daphni deals in a very simple, roots-based kind of dance music.
When I was 12 I had my future-career as a professional footballer / video games tester / part-time cowboy all sewn up. Gradually over the subsequent decade those dreams began to evaporate as I watched the cowboy industry dwindle whilst my technically weak football was largely passed-over by major clubs. Still, same deal for everyone right? Nope: not if you’re Dan Snaith.
Great things are expected from artists who have continually given us great things in the past. It’s an inevitable cycle for musicians who constantly excel at delivering exactly what fans want, while also leaving some of those same fans to scratch their head in wonder. Just talk to bands like Radiohead or Liars who have released music which both exceeded their fans expectations and divided that same base.
Over the past decade Dan Snaith has released a brace of lush, faintly psychedelic electronic records as Caribou and Manitoba. His latest Daphni incarnation, however, finds Snaith in the DJ booth with a fist in the air. Jiaolong unites a number of Snaith's cuts under this alias – sample-led, club-floor workouts that draw from techno, analogue synths and the internationalist miasma of small-hours sweat.
Under the moniker Caribou, Dan Snaith produces carefully constructed miniature houses of electronic music, impeccably designed tiny rooms full of the emotive power that would imbue a full-sized version. When releasing music under the name Daphni, on the other hand, it would seem that he’s more interested in pushing the furniture towards the walls, knocking down whatever he needs to in order to make room for a dance floor. On Jiaolong, Snaith immediately announces his unpretentious intentions, introducing the boom-bap rhythms and wonky, simplistic synth lines that waggle repeatedly throughout “Yes I Know”.
Over the course of many albums and monikers — Manitoba, Caribou, and here, Daphni — Canadian producer Dan Snaith has made his exquisite attention to texture the star of his show. “Swim,” his most recent effort as Caribou, took its liquid inspiration seriously, its songs all caught in a perfectly chaotic current. On “JIAOLONG,” Snaith takes a cue from many nights spent DJing between dates on Caribou tours.
As far as side projects go, Caribou's Dan Snaith and his experimental new alias, Daphni, is easily one of the most anticipated of the year. First LP, Jiaolong, is the result of Snaith rediscovering clubs and the sheer energy and unpredictability of the dance floor. Stripped back are the layers and architecture that compose Caribou's musical base. Instead, Jiaolong leans more towards the spontaneous, the tracks having the rough feel of improvisation and the surprising energy of an album designed for a dance floor.
Caribou’s Dan Snaith’s purest transition to the dancefloor yet. Reef Younis 2012 Few side projects of 2012 have generated as much anticipation and expectation as Daphni, the feminine, club-friendly alias of Caribou’s Dan Snaith. Jiaolong is the Canadian’s debut album under this particular moniker, and it's driven by the energy and dark corners of the dancefloor.
Caribou and Four Tet have often invited comparison. Recently, though, it's almost as if they're following the same cue sheet. Canadian Dan Snaith's new Daphni project mirrors Londoner Kieran Hebden's recent shift towards the dancefloor with scary accuracy: both were auteurish producers flirting with dance forms but twisting them to home-listening ends; both, last year, began to address their passion for dance music head on with a series of limited-pressing 12"s; both have now collated their productions into LPs, perhaps drawing a line under a fertile period of experimentation where the possibilities inherent in the house music form suddenly seemed manifold.