Review Of 'Wolfhour' EP By DNKL, out now on Sugarcane Recordings




DNKL are three musicians from Sweden – André Laos, Claes Strängberg and Jonatan Josefsson. How did they spend their summer? Well, part of it playing big music festivals like Roskilde, Way Out West, and the Berlin Music Fest, while earning praise from all corners. Somehow, they also managed to find the time to create their stunning debut EP. Wolfhour magically captures the silken moodiness of the hours when the rest of the world sleeps and anything and everything is possible.

November, month of fogs and rain. The entry into the time of inner reflection and hibernation. It’s really the perfect moment to release this small, polished dark star into the world. It’s a little Trentemøller – Take Me Into Your Skin, a tiny bit M83- We Own the Sky, and a little – oh, who cares. DNKL has its own unique vibe.

The vocals are the equivalent of having someone wrap a warm, soft scarf around your neck and gently whisper lost thoughts in your ear, as the wind blows through the dark bare branches above.

Wolfhour, the title track, begins with deep drums that press through you and into you, but it’s far from club music. It’s electronica shoegaze deep dreaming, the vocals hovering over different strands of rhythm, a delicate touch to everything. Someone’s got ears here, as they say, and the threads weave through, never a fight for supremacy, never just one level – loud – for everything. It follows the bliss of dynamic range rather than volume.

Battles is the next track. You know how you listen to something a few times? Then a few times more, because you really like it? Then maybe the next day, or the day after, you turn it on again, a little anxious, filled with worry – that this time you won’t like it at all, or as much. It makes it even better when you feel the brilliant sense of wonder that the feeling is all still there, intact. The lyrics pour into your mind – “We start to remember who we were when we were young, who we turned out to be.” And when you wake up at 3am, half-asleep, half-silence broken by the trucks outside barreling past, it’s the sound that floats through, calming, the delicate echoing piano opening up the gateway to synths, the vocals over all of it, like a magician whispering to his tools.

Warm Dark Night might be my favorite. I’m not sure why. Maybe because the beats move through it like a warm spoon through caramel. It’s just hypnotic. Everything is allowed space to breathe and change, and it never loses momentum.

Hunt. Wait, this one is my favorite too. Subtle, beautiful, intense music to listen to as you walk deserted streets alone. That bass sound.

And then there are the remixes, which unlike so many others, actually are about the songs, and exploring elements of the composition or the sound, not how someone can completely redo it in their own image. The delicate piano remix of Battles reveals the sadness and emotion behind the structure. It’s that interlayering of texture and composition that allows one to get lost in the song, in the idea.

Alice Severin

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