Dan Friel comes at things the right way, starting with a small, simple set-up and wringing all he can out of it. In his case, a Yamaha Portasound toy keyboard is at the core of everything, Friel overcranking it and using it to mimic a whole range of instruments. Life is a record of high-energy, lo-fi melodic dance songs: lots of fun! On Thrill Jockey.
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Clint handed this to me saying that he couldn’t help but think “that someone young would listen to it”. Well apparently I’m the token ‘young person’ so as a ‘young person’ I listen to fast, loud upbeat poppy music that just can’t stop for breath because oh there’s so much to see and talk about and oh wow is that a shiny thing maybe I’ll tweet about it and isn’t the world great but also really fucked up?
Dan Friel manages to channel that exuberant breathlessness into his fuzzed-out instrumental pop that Stereogum apparently said was full of “sugar-rush whoosh”. That’s making me want to destroy the record even though the sounds are far less irritating than everyone is trying to make out. Unless 33 is the wrong speed… The songs on Life are essentially mini-jams conjured forth from a mini-keyboard and a modest pedalboard by the sounds of it. A beat is set up, some fingers hit the keyboard and stay there for 3 minutes while around 15 other fingers wander around the other half making an offensive wall of rasping melody. It’s pretty much psych rock but played on lo-fi keys instead of, well, lo-fi guitars.
The truth of the matter is that we, as the ‘young people’ of this world, are not all blindly and excitedly nodding along to whatever the fuck the turbopop industry are pooping our way. It’s probably more the case that we love anything that has some distortion or other obscurities in it. How else do you explain the psych boom?
Disclaimer: I am not a spokesperson for young folks so disregard all these stupid generalisations, forget age and listen to this cuz it’s pretty darn good.
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- Life by Dan Friel
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