Dan Deacon’s off-beat electronic melodies

Dan Deacon takes unorthodox and deconstructionist methods and applies them to his weird brand of music. (Photo provided by commons.wikimedia.org)
Dan Deacon takes unorthodox and deconstructionist methods and applies them to his weird brand of music. (Photo provided by commons.wikimedia.org)

American composer and electronic musician, Dan Deacon, released his eighth album, “Gliss Riffer,” on Feb. 24.

A Long Island native, Deacon released his first two albums while he was a student at SUNY Purchase. He is now based in Baltimore, Md. Deacon is known for his personable live shows. He performs on the floor level, surrounded by his audience. The participation and Deacon’s interaction with his audiences are a huge part to all of his shows.

“I was very stressed out while making the record because it was the first time doing it, in a long time, by myself,” Deacon said in a recent interview with NPR.

The album’s first track, “Feel the Lightning,” is a light and organic song. Deacon captures the feel of a lightning storm within the synthesizers. It sounds as if the listener is actually standing in the middle of a lightning storm. There are two singers, a woman and Dan Deacon himself. The vocalist’s duets really add layers to the sound of the song. The woman’s soft and higher voice acts as the wind while Deacon’s deep and powerful voice sounds like rolling thunder. Behind the lyrics, a small, high electronic sound seems to be rain. The lyrics themselves are about waiting for that one moment and suddenly it’s over, kind of like a lightning storm.

“It really led me to make the voice more prominent and the voice to have more space around it. Once the voice had more space, lyrics became important, because you could hear them,” Deacon said in a recent interview with Exclaim! Media Group. “That also made me realize how vulnerable they were, which really amplified the anxious tension in the lyrics.”

“When I was Done Dying” is a lyrically heavy song. The song itself sounds very folky. Deacon’s vocals don’t stop; he barely takes a millisecond to breathe. The lyrics are very prominent though, and 90 percent of the lyrics can be readily understood. However, at a few spots, there are odd guttural noises from the vocalists. The beat behind the lyrics is very interesting and once again, soothing. It sounds like waves hitting the shore and pulling away. However, the beat is hidden behind the vocals and should be more prominent. Once the vocals finally cut out, there is a wonderful drum beat till the end of the song that is both beautiful and subtle.

The final song on the album, “Steely Blues,” is a mix of sounds that starts out very low, climaxes and descends back into silence. In the climax of the song, there is a mix of various sounds that are very jumbled and each instrument cannot be picked out. One sound that can easily be picked out though, is the wind chimes. They add a nice airy feel to the mess of instruments until the song’s end.

“Gliss Riffers” is filled with soothing, electronic melodies and some prominent vocals. It is the perfect album to run or work out to. A definite must-listen.


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