Published June 30, 2015
Quickly following the late March release of an EP called ‘Acid Eclipse’, electronic musician Daveeth has released his first full-length album, ‘Mono Lisa’. Daveeth, Akureyri native Davíð Hólm Júlíusson, has released several EPs since 2004. The new album is a genre-defyingly eclectic collection of sounds and sequences, reflecting the five years and vastly different places throughout Iceland and China in which it was recorded.
As each song races in and out from frenetic, snare-heavy thumping to 16-bit silliness, much of it is not dance-friendly—with a few notable exceptions. This rapid pace gives it a kind of narrative that is better simply sat and listened to, almost like a soundtrack. It is at points both sophisticated in its instrumental complexity and endearing in its more amateurish drum machines. It sounds like a soundtrack to a video game I want to play.
Opening the album with a slow, eerie, organ-like synth, “Sveiflugjafi” accelerates to digital cacophony that sets the tone for the whole record. That frenzy hits peaks of classic 90s-style tekkno madness in “Tóndæmi,” “HuiGuoRou,”and the title track “Mono Lisa.” Let’s call these the button-mashing, sweat-inducing boss battles.
The smoothest track of them all, and the most danceable, is actually the one-minute bridge between two songs. Called “Hás,” it features a slower, funkier beat with understated percussion that would definitely make it the theme to a jungle level in the game. “This Particular Sin” and “Go Figure” are possibly its most melodic and accessible pop jams, with deep but catchy synths and head-bobbing beats. Good music for dungeons.
Overall ‘Mono Lisa’ is an appropriately vibrant and quirky debut LP coming from a musician who “likes to use electronic devices to make toast but also music.” If nothing else, it will certainly keep you playing it. Whether you’ve ever wondered what a symphony of tiny robots would sound like or you need a new record to put on when rescuing princesses, this is worth at least three listens. (It grew on me.) Whatever it lacks in cohesiveness, it pays back with a digital sword—and interest.