After about six years of singles and EPs, Berlin-based beatmaker Dauwd is finally ready to drop his debut full-length, Theory of Colours.
A press release lists influences including the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a hub for experimental electronic music starting in the late '50s and famous for Delia Derbyshire's groundbreaking work on the original Doctor Who theme. Fittingly, Dauwd's music has a pretty sci-fi vibe to it, although with cleaner, modernized production, having had about a half-century's advantage. Here, unknowable sounds hover, skitter and undulate against a backdrop of refined, futuristic grooves.
"Macadam Therapy" opens the album with warm synth pads and the sounds of someone breathing. When the first percussion drops in after a minute, a robotic voice says something indistinguishable, but the delay effect blends the voice into the musical texture. As the song unfolds, a variety of synthesized, warped sounds create an aural ecosystem for listeners to get lost in.
"Murmure" opens with a sample of some whispering in French over a three-note bass line, then introduces some burbling synth notes before gradually wandering into a sort of childlike, prancing rhythm. "Glass Jelly" stirs in funkier bass and drums, and a staccato synth figure that sounds like bubbles of liquid chrome. "Theory of Colours" closes the album with fast parts that feel like we're travelling through space alongside slow parts that evoke being in a womb.
If you asked someone to draw you a beach, they'd probably at least draw a shoreline and the sun, but Dauwd might fine-tune the details down to the intricate spiral of a seashell. If it takes another half-decade for another pristine musical beach full of sand-grain subtleties, at least we know it'll be worth the wait. (Technicolour)