Release Date: Nov 6, 2012
Record label: Lefse Records
Gaze deep into the cover art for Teen Daze’s The Inner Mansions. In the thick of the forest, a gleaming white monolith stands untouched by the dirt of nature around it. Within his sophomore LP, Vancouver producer Jamison almost immerses himself in the world of electronic pop, but he refuses to truly dive deep into the visceral world and instead keeps his music cerebral.
While producer Jamison's first two Teen Daze releases, the EP A Silent Planet and the full-length All of Us, Together were inspired by literary works, he looks inward on his second album, examining love and spirituality. Even though The Inner Mansions has a title that sounds just as bookish as his other work, and these songs aren't any more literal than the atmospheric synth pop of his previous music, they do have a more emotive, more compelling feel than the utopian ideals that fueled All of Us, Together. The newfound depth and scope -- not to mention more focused melodies and songwriting -- on tracks such as "New Life" and "Divided Loyalties" recall a homespun version of M83's widescreen romanticism.
A band name like Teen Daze brings to mind buzzwords like chillwave, fuzz rock and dream pop. In many ways, these descriptors are dead on. Teen Daze, aka 20-something BC native Jamison, employs soft vocals, ethereal synths and hazy samples. But The Inner Mansions is much more interesting than your typical bedroom pop album.
Chillwave often seems marred by the ease with which it can be proliferated by sloppy amateurs. Bedroom knob-twirlers with sequencers and halfway-decent recording programs don’t need to be intuitive producers or even actual musicians anymore, as they can rely on computers to do most of their heavy lifting. Canadian newcomer Teen Daze makes an effort to dispel that notion on The Inner Mansions, one of two albums he’s released this year that attempts to forge a path away from cut-and-paste music production.
You don’t need to Google Teen Daze very deep to get the feeling that just by starting the project, Vancouver producer Jamison was playing with fire. For starters, he’s taken the stigmatic stance of actually being OK with “chillwave” as an apt descriptor for his sound, his moniker is a near-verbatim lift off an essential album to that movement, and, probably most suspiciously, The Inner Mansions is Teen Daze’s second LP of the year. Which, unless you believe Jamison already belongs to a class reserved for those who have proven their hold on the insane levels of talent and work ethic required to pull that off, would suggest bandwagoning.
Hailing from Vancouver, Jamison, aka Teen Daze, is one of the most stubbornly prolific laptop musicians to put out not one but two albums in 2012. His latest LP, The Inner Mansions, was released November 6 on Lefse. It is exactly the sort of dreamy, electronic, sparse sound that you’ve come to expect from chillwave complete with delicately processed vocals and the possibility of lulling you to sleep.