Hypnagogue Music Reviews

Dalot: Ancestors

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I will tell you up front that I like Dalot’s Ancestors quite a bit. Then I have to admit that my favorite track on the release is a remix done by Bvdub, whose work I also like. Which is fine, but…ideally, shouldn’t the best thing on your release be yours? This 46-minute release features just 22 minutes of work from Dalot (aka Maria Papadomanolaki) and another 24 minutes of excellent remixes of the title track from Bvdub, Northcape, and Dryft. Dalot’s own work melts together soft ambient frameworks and mildly sedated post-rock. Much of it moves at a glassy-eyed pace, wispy but greatly detailed. The title track, for example, just about melts at the touch. Dreampop vocals and ethereal washes are grounded by fragments of melody on guitar. Dalot gives a few minutes over to ballad-style piano mid-track before offering it back to the guitar. “Staircase” layers shiny guitar notes into a humming drone. The weaving of tones is lush and intricate, churning gently as it goes. “Night Owl” folds in a folksy feel, augmented with soft string pads. The soft, underplayed, three-tone representation of an owl call is a nice touch. Of the remixes, each has its own character, but all definitely take the slow-it-down route. Northcape hits his style of downtempo stride, setting the scene with a heavy low end. I like the way he pulls Dalot’s vocal samples, when he drops them, far to the back. Dryft heads for a kind of minimalist zone at first, dousing them with pure chill and forming a bed of rich, edge-of-dubstep bass. Repeating arpeggios, steady hand-claps, and washed-out backdrops all do their job just right. Late in the track he nudges it into a more glitch-based place, and the switch-up works nicely. But let me tell you–Bvdub nails it, taking the source material, driving a ton of extra raw feeling into the rich emotional core that’s already there, stretching it out to 14 minutes and creating what I feel I need to refer to as a masterpiece. At the very least, a piece I could listen to all day. van Wey’s choice to add his own vocals to Dalot’s just shoots it into a whole new place for me.

Ancestors, as I said, is a very good take overall. Having gotten just a slight taste of Dalot’s abilities, I would definitely say I’d like to hear more. Put this one on when you want to chill, and get those headphones on to take in the excellent intricacy at play.

Available from n5md.

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