Afro-electro-funk performance artist Daví opens his new 'Got the Seed' EP boldly. The unsettlingly funky title track is based around a Bollywood sample run not through a web of filters, but some sort of Steampunk contraption; all winding gears and sprockets. Daví's music is just that set of contradictions, it's infectiously danceable and draped in Moog synths and effects, but the beats are always just a little jagged. Even the synths often have some organic quality. 'Wonder on a Lump' marries it's simple sexy bassline to a beat that seems constantly on the verge of losing time. The Rube Goldberg drums are mechanical, sure, but these are handmade machines of wood and steel, not the pristine fax machines untouched by human hands of most electro-funk.
'Reptiiiile' is a clear electro descendant of dub but somehow comes off as completely distinct from everyone's favorite love-or-hate-it punchline dubstep. Like punk rock and country they share considerable DNA while sounding nothing alike (unless you're Social Distortion, but really, who is these days?). And speaking of DNA, with 'Reptiiiile' Daví accomplishes the astonishing feat of making a “baby-making” track about the consequences of said baby-making. The song directs its ire at the absent fathers of the children of one night stands. “Shout out to all the bad dads...get it together.”
The big highlight of the EP is 'Love's Tanqueray.' Daví intones the monster hook “Turn the lights on / I'm a fool for black silhouettes” over a rare simple dance beat. The track's simplicity is a reprieve on an EP whose dense and ambitious production skips gleefully back and forth over the fine line between exhilarating and exhausting. The hook is repeated on the a capella 'I'm a Fool for Black Silhouettes,' a move which would feel self-indulgent with a lesser melody.
Daví closes out the EP with the haunting and surprising 'When the Ceiling is Gone.' The song trades in the rest of the EP's slinky synth bass and handmade loops, and replaces them with retro synth pads and big 80s drums. Daví's usually smooth and emotive vocals are processed and tuned blending in with a song that owes more than a little to Nine Inch Nails' break-through album Pretty Hate Machine. Trent Reznor has often talked about his debut as an attempt to record a Prince record (no, seriously. Check out the album outtake 'Maybe Just Once' if you don't believe me). On the EP closer, Daví actually manages to successfully channel Prince's sex appeal through Reznor's righteous anger for a song about the Great Recession, and the financial and social double standards that are coming to a head as a result. “I anticipate and eat cracker jacks / I cook ramen noodles, can't afford cheese and mac / You give me a job, I just pay back Freddie Mac.” Daví pulls the rug out from under the listener; the EP may sound like sex, but Daví makes it clear he has much more on his mind. The title track's chorus turns out to be Daví's mission statement: “Got the seed and the funk and the whole crowd thunk.”
Daví will be playing at Grasslands Gallery in Brooklyn May 20th to support his new EP. Tickets here:
- Contributor: Nathan Leigh