Jay Daniel - Broken Knowz

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  • You could never accuse Jay Daniel's music of feeling plastic or soulless. His sound is rough: just check fucked up drum tracks like "No Love Lost" on his Sound Signature debut, his collaboration with Funkineven or the fuzzy warmth of his Wild Oats double-pack. Broken Knowz goes further. On his first album for Technicolour, Daniel says he ditched his drum machines in a quest for "more natural, more human" sounds. Nothing about these nine tracks is more perfectly imperfect than any of the Detroit producer's previous work, but they are more rhythmically inventive and complex. Many are multi-layered, with two or three different leads emerging in any one track. The percussion is scruffy: tumbling toms are jumbled with finger clicks and wet claps. It's earthy, human music in the tradition of fellow 313ers Theo Parrish and Kyle Hall. The Parrish comparison is particularly apt on tracks like "Last Of The Dogons," with its churning Rhodes and rousing charm. "Paradise Valley" is an early high point. Its bumping drums set the groove, before smeared guitar and synth leads take turns wandering off into the distance. The arrangement is complex but it never feels that way. Like the rest of Broken Knowz, what sounds at first like regular house music reveals more nuance with every listen. Expressive and loose as the album is, its track titles reveal more about Daniel's headspace. "Paradise Valley" is named after a densely populated African-American residential area in Detroit, which was cleared for a new highway in the '50s. "The Dogons" are a group in Mali known for their art, sculpture and mask dances, and "Yemaya" is named after the Mother Goddess Of The Ocean from the Yoruba religion, which counts Osunlade as a priest. "Knowledge Of Selfie" is presumably a play on a self-discovery book that asks if we really know who and what we are. Broken Knowz isn't just about house music, but also Daniel's own self-reflection.
  • Tracklist
      01. Last Of The Dogons 02. Paradise Valley 03. Niiko 04. 1001 Nights 05. Squeaky Maya 06. $hake It Down 07. Knowledge Of Selfie 08. Boolin 09. Yemaya