Dan Le Sac – Space Between The Words
Released: 09/07/2012 on Sunday Best
Dan Le Sac is a Reading-based DJ and producer best known for collaborating with urban poet and wordsmith Scroobius Pip. Tracks such as 'Beat That My Heart Skipped' and 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' propelled the duo into the Top 40 via plays from Zane Lowe on BBC1, as well as by featuring cameos from better known buddies (Paloma Faith stars in the video for 'Beat That My Heart Skipped'). For this solo offering however, Le Sac has ditched Pip and gone back to his producer roots, creating a genre-bending record which includes guest appearances from rapper B Dolan (read more about him here), electronic folk singer Merz, upcoming urban songwriter Sarah Williams White and many more.
Upon listening to this record, it is clear that Le Sac has enjoyed experimenting with his musical creativity, steering clear of the usual rock and hip hop based eight bit electronica which dominates Angles (2008, Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip) and Logic of Chance (2010, also with Pip). Debut solo record Space Between The Words contains a juxtaposition of styles, from the ethereal folk pop of first track 'Long Night of Life' (featuring Merz on vocals), to the murky crunk of 'Caretaker' with equally portentous vocals from B Dolan. This album is experimental, diverse and at times playful – yet skilfully produced with care and grace.
Although scattered with guest vocalists to complement certain pieces, the clever placement of interlude-style mini tracks, 'Reprisals', 'Hold Yourself Lightly' and 'Beside' help to connect the whole piece, bringing the focus of the listener back onto the experimental nature of the artists’ recordings. This prevents the record feeling like a vanity piece aimed at showcasing Le Sac’s numerous musical friends, and instead firmly puts his own skills at the forefront.
Stand out tracks have to include 'Tuning', featuring poet Joshua Idehen, which is reminiscent of Le Sac’s previous high octane electronica collaboration work with Pip. However, although it contains a similar electronic beat, the modern take on 1970s style psychedelic breaks plus Idehen’s Maxi Jazz style lyrical approach provides the track with a pace and focus which sets it poles apart from previous poppy, chart-aiming singles. Also noteworthy are 'Zephyr' featuring Merz, which will appeal to fans of folk-indie melodic epics, plus 'Memorial', featuring the ethereal vocals of Emmy The Great over eerie, unsettling beats which send a shiver up the spine. The clubby, breakbeat electronic score of 'Good Time Gang War' featuring synthesized vocals from B Dolan is also a standout tune, plus fans of Arab Strap will just about recognize 'Cherubs', featuring the doleful tones of Peter Hefferen over bleak and mournful pianos.
All in all, if Le Sac’s purpose in this record is to come out from under the shadow of his bearded associate, it is abundantly clear that he has succeeded in doing so. The scope of this record, its clever composition and its genre bending tones all have worked surprisingly well to set Le Sac on a path to becoming a respected artist in his own right, and to showing the musical world that he can do pretty damn well on his own.
Beard or no beard.
Turn On: Caretaker, Tuning
Turn Off: Break of Dawn