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Hayden Thorpe - Diviner Music Album Reviews

The former Wild Beasts singer embarks on a new direction on his soul-searching solo debut, stripping back his songwriting to a reverent hush.
The British singer-songwriter Hayden Thorpe released “Diviner” in late February 2019, just a year after the final performance of his band Wild Beasts. From its stark opening chords and breathy first line—“I’m a keeper of secrets, pray do tell”—the song sounded markedly personal. With little more than his stately countertenor and humble piano, Thorpe harnessed the energy of quiet solitude and proceeded to pitch that emotion skyward until the music felt bathed in a dim light. After more than a decade with Wild Beasts, “Diviner” pointed to a different direction for Thorpe.





DJ Seinfeld - Galazy EP Music Album Reviews

On the first release on his new label Young Ethics, the Swedish producer steps outside his hazy comfort zone.

DJ Seinfeld is something of an enigma: the accidental spokesperson for an internet micro-genre he largely disavowed, a producer whose silly moniker is at odds with the earnestness of his music. Galazy strips away some of the mystery. It is Jakobsson’s first release on his own record label, Young Ethics, an imprint whose name comes, he says, from “uncertain moments [that] stem from the maturity (or lack thereof) of the industry.” This quest for clarity seems to have trickled down into the music itself. Gone are the hazy textures of his 2017 full-length debut, Time Spent Away From U, and the tortured bassline exercises of last year’s Sakura EP. This is a newly focused Jakobsson, one in search of a sturdier sonic identity that might hold a better shot at standing the test of time.

Lead single “Electrian” is a dreamy opener; digital bird calls gradually swell into low-end catharsis. It’s perhaps the closest thing we get to the Seinfeld sound that drew listeners to him in the first place. The song taps into the introspective moods demonstrated by similarly atmospheric-minded producers like Lone, its long ambient tails propelled forward by breakbeats and the occasional well-placed cowbell.

“Uforia” and the title track seem to have been made with the Swedish producer’s last few years of DJing in mind. Where original productions he slipped into his recent entry in the vaunted DJ-Kicks mix series were pretty low-key, Jakobsson has no problem popping off here. “Uforia” aims to fill warehouses with its menacing techno percussion and off-kilter synth stabs, like a supercharged version of Radiohead’s “The Gloaming.”

On “Galazy,” Jakobsson resorts to one of the most widely sampled records of all time, Lyn Collins’ “Think (About It).” He eschews the ubiquitous “Yeah! Woo!” in favor of a secondary loop, but the song never transcends or even lives up to its iconic foundational element. By the midpoint, James Brown’s voice is a fly in the ointment, buried but ever audible amidst a tangle of Reese bass and chunky snares.

Jakobsson has demonstrated before that his grander vision lies beyond the realm of the dancefloor: The DJ-Kicks opener “I See U” combined field recordings with gratuitous amounts of reverb to set an otherworldly scene, with nary a beat in sight. Similarly, the most promising moment of the EP is “Mono Melo,” a slower track that sounds like an early Massive Attack demo, with its swung drums and brittle, digitally distorted synths. Gone are the days of cranked-up tape saturation deployed for the sake of an aesthetic; having helped define lo-fi house, DJ Seinfeld is reaching for something more.

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