Caribou Shares the Inspiration of Collaboration Behind 'Our Love'

BY Vincent PollardPublished Sep 24, 2014

On October 7, Canadian electronic musician Dan Snaith, better known as Caribou, is set to release his fourth album (seventh, really, including those made under his Manitoba and Daphni aliases) Our Love on Merge Records. It furthers the Caribou sound heard on 2010's Juno Award-winning Swim, but here, Snaith employs a more melancholic and nostalgic version of that sound, paired with one that draws its influence from '80s boogie, house and hip-hop in place of the disco-heavy Arthur Russell sounds that characterized Swim.

In an electronic music scene dominated by maximalism, from the histrionics of EDM stadium fillers to the nerdy ADHD-M of multi-layered, soft synth-reliant producers inspired by Dabrye and Brainfeeder, Caribou's music is refreshing in how it casts a respectful nod back to earlier, simpler times whilst remaining undeniably contemporary. The minimalism of Our Love draws upon the golden days of house and techno in its directness and simplicity. Take the Inner City-esque breakdown on the title track for starters.

By Snaith's own press release admission, he was attempting to create "mind-numbingly simple" music.

"My old records, which were less dance music-inflected, were crazily maximalist," Snaith explains to Exclaim! "I would just throw as many samples as I could get into the mix, so it's just this kind of cacophony going on."

Over the years, Snaith felt the urge to pursue the exact opposite tack. "I began placing every sound really precisely," he says, "and being really judicious and careful about where everything's placed, thinking about what purpose every element serves. I feel like this is the record where I took that idea onboard the most."

Guests on the album include two close friends: Hamilton's Jessy Lanza, who contributes her trademark sultry vocals on the song "Second Chance"; and Owen Pallett, who features on no fewer than four of the album's tracks ("Silver," "All I Ever Need," "Our Love" and "Your Love Will Set You Free") adds some subtle string work.

Snaith and Pallett met on an Exclaim! tour in the early 2000s when the former was DJing as Manitoba and the latter was playing as part of the Hidden Cameras. It's only in the last year or so that the pair have got around to collaborating, first on Daphni's Balkan-flavoured dancefloor single "Julia." Our Love sees an even greater involvement from the Toronto musician.

"He's such a remarkable talent," says Snaith. "He's one of those people that when you talk about music with him, you very quickly realize he's got a special insight about both the music he makes and other people's music."

The pair enjoyed collaborating on the Daphni tracks so much that Pallett approached Snaith to do something for the new Caribou record. Pallett contributes violin and viola to four of the tracks on the record, but he was much more intimately involved than that.

"I was sending him draft ideas right from the very start," Snaith explains. "He gave me really insightful and honest feedback and figured out the strengths and weaknesses and helped me direct the record in the way it eventually headed. You can lose perspective when you're working by yourself so that kind of thing is invaluable."

Read our full story on Caribou's new album here.

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