Cherry by Daphni album review by Adam Williams for Northern Transmissions




When not stepping out as Caribou, musical polymath and all-round creative genius, Dan Snaith also moonlights under the Daphni moniker. With a similar tendency for producing melancholic dance music, Daphni is the Canadian’s vehicle for experimentation and where he allows his compositions to discover their own paths.

‘Cherry’ is Daphni’s first release since 2017 and it finds the electronic artist improvising and tinkering with all manner of different sub genres from house, techno, disco, funk and a smattering of psychedelia. While working on new material, Snaith didn’t have a set idea of what new Daphni tunes would sound like, he allowed his instincts to guide him and for ideas to blossom organically. When commenting on the LP’s inception its creator is appropriately laissez-faire “there isn’t anything obvious that unifies it or makes it hang together. I think it was good that it was made without worrying about any of that. I just made it.”

‘Cherry’s DNA is constructed around an almost hypnotic repetition, where a wordless vocal hook or a piano refrain endlessly loops amongst clattering treble and boinging bass. It’s these composite parts that converge to create, what feels like, an endless groove. Album opener ‘Arrow’ kicks off the record with a jolt as it races into a pulsing, ever evolving melange of fidgeting rhythms and pulsing nuances. The album’s titular track follows in a similar vein but with a greater emphasis on techno and a restless kinetic energy. ‘Falling’s Daft Punk-esque funkiness applies a dollop of diversification to ‘Cherry’, as does the bouncy, fist-pumping house/disco mash-up of ‘Take Two’. The same can be said for ‘Fly Away’, the record’s final track, thanks to its urgent Balearic-like synth stabs and euphoric, soaring crescendo. ‘Always There’ layers an Eastern vibe on top of the jittering beats and mesmerising electronics, with what sounds like a snake charmer manifesting a spellbinding trill.

It’s safe to say ‘Cherry’ has plenty of bangers but there’s always a melancholic undertone lurking beneath the surface. ‘Crimson’s undulating, warped sound is akin to a slow mist descending upon an abandoned futuristic landscape thanks to its dystopian sci-fi quality. ‘Arp Blocks’ carries on this proclivity for the cinematic with dark tonal distortion and a synth-led eeriness. A dial tone glassiness and constant thump project further darkness onto the album via ‘Clavicle’s partially forlorn arrangement too.

Evidently Snaith enjoys the freedom that Daphni grants him and ‘Cherry’ is certainly the product of someone who’s happy to allow their music to evolve spontaneously and organically, thus producing a rich and experimental soundscape to immerse the listener in.

Pre-order Cherry by Daphni HERE


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