ponedjeljak, 11. veljače 2013.

Fay - Din (2012)

R&B + Indie-Pop + avangardni glitch = kristali eksperimentalnog dub-melodičnog popa otopljenog u vokalnoj homeopatskoj votki.
Fay je Fay Davis-Jeffers.


Exploring wild, new directions in body music, DIN, the debut LP from FAY is an absolutely stunning introduction with a pinpoint focus on retaining the physical within the realm of machine music.  While clearly electronic in nature using synthetic sounds, there is a uniquely raw human element in Her music that reflects the amount sweat, blood, and pain expended throughout the creation of DIN that makes it stand unique apart. The album's fractured, meticulously composed sonic structures make nods to modern R&B, looping vocal mantras, exotic rhythms (zouk, gamelan), bass music’s pressurized subs, and musique concrete’s time-disorienting arrangements. Balancing sounds both hypnotic and (sometimes deliberately) harsh, the resulting album is one with few reference points, shrouded in mystery - a mystery that only deepens and intrigues upon closer listen, even as the music and process unveils itself. - timenoplace.com/

Very well received in a few places but not making a whole lot of splash elsewhere was this solo debut by Fay Davis-Jeffers of the progressive indie band Pit Er Pat. ‘Din’ is one of those albums that gets twice as good every time you revisit it. At first it seems just like a load of relatively arbitrary vocal samples and non-Western percussion thrown together, but somehow it becomes richer and richer. Perhaps it’s because it comes as a relative surprise in the underground music of 2012 that nothing is really being nodded to or evoked in ‘Din’. Its concern is mainly with sound and movement.
Every element is placed by hand, just so, and Fay either suspends you over the potential for grooves in a state of rhythmic tension or she drops you into them with relish. Amazingly, though the sound-world is coherently to hand, nothing is predictable. The pieces move along on one tack, juggling just a few components, before suddenly exploding into a flurry of percussive and tuned paraphernalia. Hopefully there can be more experimental pop in 2013 as enterprising as ‘Din’ – it’s just the antidote to the current and now slightly boring vogue for pastiche.- Adam Harper

Wow, we weren't expecting this - killer album fusing R&B with avant-garde techniques, massively tipped! Shockingly ace art-pop LP fusing the funk of classic Timbaland with the compositional strategies of John Cage in a shining pop mind. Already beloved of No Fear Of Pop and XLR8R - and plenty more to come, we're sure - 'Din' is the solo debut of Fay Davis-Jeffers with mixing support from her Pit Er Pat bandmate (and hugely sought-after percussionist) Butchy Fuego. Across ten insanely well realised compositions Fay unravels the structures of R&B and Indie-Pop with avant-garde glitch techniques to reveal a crystalline masterpiece of experimental music, dub-contouring shards of melody and MPC-bumped loops around her arresting yet economically-employed vocals. Everything feels as considered and precise as a Julia Holter song, yet with a frayed looseness and funk that's completely at odds with that analogy, often recalling Co La's awesome 'Daydream Repeater' LP for NNA Tapes, but with a keener appreciation of acoustic space and texture recalling recent work by Oval. Absolutely outstanding record, highly recommended!!! - boomkat

FAY makes music somewhere between Bangladesh and SND. The solo project of Fay Davis-Jeffers from Thrill Jockey band Pit Er Pat, her music is made out of fractures of sound arranged across a grid, as her album cover shows. It’s really radical, actually. In arranging each note and sound so precisely, each drum kick, snare and chord are rendered with sometimes exquisite precision. There are sketches of dub and and, as Boomkat point out the sound-design of Oval, as well as the academic qualities of John Cage, but each piece is rendered as a perfect example of a pop song by someone in love with Timbaland.
Sometimes, it’s a little too perfect, a little over-studied – of course Timbo has produced some of the most avant-garde music of the last 15 years, but it’s his funk and swing that really make him, and occasionally these qualities are lost for the sake of absolute conceptual definition. Having said that, this is a lovely piece of work by a very adventurous artist, and the most interesting and enjoyable album released this week. [CRJ] - www.dummymag.com/

Fay Davis-Jeffers sings and plays keyboard for the experimental and at times rather jazzy trio Pit er Pat, which also features a bassist and drummer. Her vocal delivery is light yet straightforward, not unlike that of Lætitia Sadier or Eleanor Friedberger. The latter comparison is especially apt, given that Pit er Pat toured with the Fiery Furnaces back in 2007. The two bands share both a penchant for the experimental and an unabashed love of hooks; their music is catchy, but this quality belies the complex construction of their songs. There’s more going on beneath the surface of tracks by these bands than you might think based on a first listen.
Davis-Jeffers’s solo debut, DIN, is also experimental, but it’s an entirely different beast. Clipped vocal phrases, stuttering percussive samples (heavy on the tablas and bongos), and melodic fragments combine to make a brief LP of uneasy yet foot-tapping electronic minimalism. It’s sort of like a Burial album, only without the urban malaise or nighttime obscureness. What’s great about DIN is the way it alchemizes seemingly dissimilar or incompatible sonic elements into a cohesive whole. For instance, “What’s The Use” seems to build its way from lone vocal yelps and moans and single tabla strikes towards a surprisingly rhythmic climax. But even here, Davis-Jeffers subverts her own formula, allowing the song to explode into a veritable drizzle of drums, Rhodes chords, and guttural vocal emanations that recall collagist tracks like Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Sleep Dealer” from last year’s remarkable Replica album (of which I’m reminded even more upon hearing the breathy vocal samples on “Time To Die”).
Come to think of it, I hear several parallels between that album and DIN. Both build their tracks from bits and pieces of oddly sourced material (challenge: try to count the number of different percussion instruments on “Use”). Both albums employ repetition not as a means of forcing a beat or hook on the listener but rather as a way of letting the disparate track elements to congeal amongst themselves, a very “intelligent design” method of songcraft. That’s not to say both artists didn’t put a lot of work into their LPs–clearly, the opposite is true–but there’s an admirable effortlessness at work here, a playful sidestepping of the pretentious trappings of so much contemporary experimental music.
DIN isn’t all abstraction, however. “Shadow I,” for instance, immediately launches into a woodblock-assisted groove, Davis-Jeffers wringing all sorts of monosyllabic articulations from her vocal samples: “Sha, sha, sha, sha-dowww-dow” is how she repeats the track’s title. Rhodes keys crop up here as well; along with the tablas, they provide an instrumental constant that threads together the album’s otherwise random assortment of sounds. Even when they’re damaged or otherwise toyed with (as on “Between”), they provide a refreshing splash of familiarity within the very alien environment this album inhabits.
Or is it not so random? That’s the beauty of DIN. It’s like a puzzle you’re not meant to solve. With its “tribal” beat and deep synth backing, “Let It Go” could’ve been a “Galang”-era M.I.A. cut were it not for its unsettling vocal harmonies and, you know, fierce resistance to pop structure. That doesn’t stop the metal drum-sounding knocks that appear in the song’s final thirty seconds from seeming like especially sweet chocolate syrup atop the rest of the song’s gooey, delicious sundae. Just because Davis-Jeffers seeks to avoid pop music tropes doesn’t mean her music can’t wiggle its way into your headspace anyway. But isn’t this what pop music sets out to do in the first place? As I said, DIN is an enigmatic affair, happy to entertain but even happier to beguile. It might even trick you into dancing for a track or two, though you probably won’t hear any of these tracks at your local nightclub anytime soon. -

What the hell is this and where did it come from?
Boomkat weren’t wrong when they described Los Angeles-based Pit er Pat member Fay Davis-Jeffers’ debut solo album DIN by referencing the production of Timbaland circa 2001. With the focus primarily on vocals and tabla, the record instantly recalls the percussion flurries of Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’, but there are plenty of other allusions to Timmy T’s impeccable sense of space, pace and register.
DIN is very much music for the body, inspired by traditional musics such as tabla gharana, zouk and gamelan, but using editing techniques popular among electronic musicians to create an interesting bridge between the two styles. FAY ignores simple metre to create block-like structures that move fluidly between thickness and minimalist; as seen from the cover artwork and confirmed through listening, audio is mercilessly cut, not through fastidious micro editing around a rigid pulse but rough sheering and hewing. As composer and arranger FAY acts in a sculptural fashion with all of the elements at work, but in a more pop-song structure of steps than, say, the freeform nature of Mutamassik, whose style she could be compared to.
While many popular music reviews make well-meaning but inaccurate claims about music containing polyrhythmic pulses or complex time signatures, DIN actually does possess them. Standard fair for generations of tabla performers, the results are palpably brilliant when applied with knowledge and skill to this particular setting, sample-based music having always been celebrated when escaping from the rigidity that technology imposes.
‘Whats The Use’ is therefore a superb example of rhythmic tension and economic construction, tabla paired with falsetto yelps and whimpering to create something beautiful yet unsettling. ‘That’s The Part’ applies a typical dancehall rhythm to a simple sample hook before unexpectedly and repeatedly pulling all metric predictability apart with complex subdivision. ‘Talk With My Body’ lassos itself with a lazily oscillating UFO melody and a 4/4 pulse, but phrases between all other parts slip and slide in a cunning manner. Opening track ‘How It Feels Good’, however, takes the prize, its bass pulse, in both double and triple time, simply a pivot point for many overlapping, interacting layers.
Fascinating complexity from such simple components shows everything FAY is capable of. However, in the case of ‘How It Feels’, presenting this as the first track unfortunately means that DIN’s initial shock wears off as it becomes apparent that the album’s palette isn’t going to stray too far.
This is not to say that the album does not have variation; where it does not recall Timbaland or Neptunes, DINpossesses a similar moody coyness to Tom Waits’ Mule Variations or Blood Money, blues meditations with a wry humour, strange parallels with Santigold and Julia Holter at work. ‘Time To Die’ floats around Creole bongo rolls and collaged breaths, and ‘Between’ sets a ponderous, lo-fi, over-driven piano against an insistent stuttering chord and drums. ‘Shadow II’ has thick, rotary-speaker Rhodes playing out acid-soul licks around light, rattling, computer shredded percussion and ‘Use’ is fantastically obtuse in its winding high-register melody, fuzzy step bass and angular piano contributions, everything jutting and bug-eyed.
As the approach becomes more familiar, some of the details begin to stick out as questionable. The vocals, haunting in most places, can be slightly grating in others, such as the Lamb-like jazziness of ‘Shadows II’. The references of ‘Let It Go’ also become aggravating very quickly in its drastically pitch-shifted wails and cringe-inducing (to this reviewer) ‘hands off my cookies, boy’; possibly condensing too much cheeky r’n’b allusion in one go.
However, despite niggles which may come down to individual taste, DIN does remain absolutely essential listening for anyone with even the vaguest interest in unusual approaches to popular genres and rhythmic experiments in dance music; definitely a project to be applauded. - Steve Shaw

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