Few electronic artists have as good a handle on reinvention as Dan Snaith, so it’s not a total surprise that the constantly evolving producer behind Caribou has emerged with a new project. Sometime between the release of 2010’s Polaris-nominated Swim and the tour behind it, Snaith cooked up an album’s worth of twisted new dance beats as Daphni and built a modular synthesizer to play them on. “It growls or screams when I don’t expect it to,” Snaith writes about the synthesizer.d “Nudging one dial changes the sound so drastically that I’ll never get the original sound back. It’s like improvising with another musician, and its voice is all over this music.”
Snaith’s synthesizer has twisted his electro-psych signature into something unrecognizable too. On the previously released “Ye Ye,” the first track from Daphni’s debut JIOLONG, Snaith closes out the sunlight and pulls out a dark pulse of stuttering drums, cavernous bass, and twinkling synth notes. “I’d fallen back in love with moments in small, dark clubs when a DJ puts on a piece of music that not only can you not identify but that until you heard it, you could not have conceived of it existing,” he adds. “Set against the backdrop of bland and functional dance music and the mind-numbing predictability of the EDM barfsplosion currently gripping the corporate ravesters, there is a small world where dance music lives up to its potential to liberate, surprise, and innovate. It’s there that I hope Daphni has a place.” Us too.
JIOLONG is out on October 9 via Merge.