Dan Knight kicks us off with a nice piano sound which then gets joined by a classic sounding break and then a couple of “Phat” basslines layered over the top. Doesn’t sound very inspiring when you write it out like that, quite plain and dull.
But that is the very opposite of what it is. This little intro, simple as it seems, is actually very deep and engaging. It’s very short at two and half minutes, but it really does leave you wanting more from the track, if not the whole album.
We featured the second track, “Fractures”, on Flam and Flange when Dan released it and Luke and I were really surprised and impressed with the immersive sound of it. It took us right back to the late 90s/early noughties, a sort of homage to the sounds of Paul Van Dyk and early Tiesto (not the new EDM stuff he churns out). We mused, will Trance, as it was back then, make a comeback? The arpeggio bassline, the orchestral chord stabs, the gentle rising melody moving up through the scales and the bright and hissing hi-hats gliding over the top sounds as if it has come right out of Human Traffic, making Jam and Spoon seem like Jelly and Fork.
Into the third track – A dark brooding bassline growls at you, punching through is an angry break and a hurried melody plucking away at you like a cat trying to wake you up when it wants feeding. The whole track is like Meat Katie and Lee Coombs having a fight over the last Mother-32 in the shop. The layering of the vocal sample give you a sense of urban decay and to double down on that Dan destroys the audio at the end of the track creating a lo-fi grime that one might expect if you dropped your toaster into the toilet from Trainspotting. Is it good on the ear? No. Can you mix it into another tune? Also no. But, it’s brilliant and I fully encourage this kind of electronic experimentation with our expectations. (Try and say that sentence twice while beat matching).
Next, an interlude… peaceful, classical – a sharp in take of breath perhaps? A relief from what has gone and preparation for the next shock to the system? Nope, Dan surprises us once more with a return to another gentle piano but passed through a lo-fi wobble so we get that wow and flutter like listening to an old Nina Simone album. He layers this with a lovely high break, those whistling hats return and we’re sucked into an mid 90s blissful haze that would make Orbital and Sun Electric proud. And bang, like that it’s over!
So I have two criticisms of this EP – 1) I want to hear more, and this short EP is not enough for this kind of sound. I can feel the progressive development in these tracks and it’s crying out for “12 inch” versions of each. Each track is excellent and lovely both to listen and dance too, but there’s not enough there for a House music glutton like me. And 2) it would be nice if someone with less experience than me at producing electronica could sound a bit worse than I do, not ten times better!
In all honesty, this is a fantastic EP which shows everyone that despite only producing electronica for a very short period of time and using (according to Dan) basic production software, Dan Knight knows exactly what he is doing. The structures are good and solid, progressive without being dull and the melodies are glued to the rhythm. I can’t wait to hear what Dan does next, hopefully he will start to think about putting together an album for us to enjoy. He gives hints to a creative flair that hasn’t been fully explored yet. He’s cemented his musical ability into the foundation, now he just has to build.