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.
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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.
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