Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Lefse Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic
Teen DazeAll Of Us, Together[Lefse; 2012]By Ryan Stanley; June 19, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIt’s interesting that Jamison, the man behind the dreamy electronic project Teen Daze, has been calling All Of Us, Together his first real album. After all, it’d be pretty difficult to call it a debut. The dude has been releasing music at a rapid-fire pace for the past 3 years, and 2010’s Four More Years, an 8 song EP that collected some of his best work up until that point, received a pretty decent amount of press and might just be considered one the defining releases of the short-lived chillwave movement.
The image on the cover of All of Us, Together, the first full-length from Teen Daze, depicts two swimsuited young men diving eagerly through the hazy atmosphere of a purple-blue M-Class planet. The expansive, electronic tracks here gathered are just such a jump—a floating-through of glassy, strange-colored airs. This record is not out to shatter you; its aim, rather, is to fuel your night drive through the dusky electronic corridors of sun-warmed youth.
Teen Daze has been throwing around tracks on the internet for a couple years now. His early work arrived on the scene the same time the loosely-defined "chillwave" was taking up memory on laptops and iPods everywhere. At first glance (and listen) the work of the Vancouver native seems right at home side by side with the Washed Outs of the world: Smeared synths and hissing loops over fuzzy lo-fi beats nurtured from the soundtracks of colorful anime films and the wake of early M83.
Generic categories can often be more hindrance than help, especially in music. No sooner does a sound get defined than that definition does its work of reducing a diverse field of activity to something artificially limited and contained. Of course, genres can also allow us as listeners and makers to understand our tastes, find new objects of interest, and create with intention.
By 2012, most of the acts associated with chillwave had put out their debut albums, but one of the most chilled-out purveyors of this style, Teen Daze (aka producer Jamison) didn't release his first full-length until that year. Previously, Jamison's singles, EPs, and remixes had marked him as a particularly breezy and nostalgic artist working in this airiest and most retro of styles, a feeling that continues on All of Us, Together. The lilting melodies, bouncy rhythms, and whooshing synths on songs like "Treten" are so light and refreshing that, initially, listening to the album is like taking a dip in a pool on a broiling summer day.
"Hey, have you heard of this guy Teen Daze?" This is how a friend began an iChat conversation with me late last year and, short answer, "no." A longer answer would've been one that was likely shared by just about anyone keeping up with prevailing internet trends ca. November 2011: "No, I haven't. But do I really need to actually hear Teen Daze to know exactly what it sounds like?” The answer to that question was likely "no" as well, since if you go to the young British Columbian's watercolor-splashed Bandcamp page, you could find EPs with titles such as My Bedroom Floor, Four More Years and, I shit you not, Beach Dreams.
If Teen Daze is Max Fischer, chillwave is his Rushmore. Unlike contemporaries such as Toro Y Moi and Washed Out—who graduated from the pseudo-genre's lackadaisical backbeats and murky synths on the strength of their pop chops—the nameless Canadian producer seems happy to wallow in the world of hazy electro soundscapes. .
It would be hard to accuse Teen Daze of false advertising as far as artist names go. Chillwave is a buzzword that’s been beaten to death lately, but it is what it sounds like: washes of synth that lap over the listener like there’s no such thing as rock n’ roll. It might be the easiest music in the world to listen to, so it’s no wonder that it has made its way out of the hipster depths of bedroom sound studios to float into the wider world.
Vancouver producer Jamison (He only goes by this name—whether it is a surname or first name is unclear) has exposed many a literary influence with his chillwave-y “band” (if one can use the term loosely) Teen Daze. Last year’s A Silent Planet EP was inspired by reading C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet during a seven-week stay in the Swiss Alps studying philosophy.
Shifting feverishly from chillwave through ambient to techno in the space of just two years, British Colombian Teen Daze, known to his friends as Jamison, has pitched up at some evolutionary strain of all three on ‘All Of Us, Together’, his third album. Euphoric, intricate and lustrous, don’t expect the out-n-out chillwave of last year’s blog smash ‘Let’s Groove’, and ditto the ambient yelps of the ‘Silent Planet’ EP, but do imagine similar elements and ideals mish-mashed into novel shapes. Think the radiant, beatific twin of Pantha du Prince.What came to define Daze’s earlier work was his heavily filtered, volatile vocals, but these are largely absent here.