Home EP

by Daffy Maestro

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Review by tunedmass.com

In today’s post-IDM, post-electronic, post-everything landscape, it’s pretty hard to stand out. Scratch that, its hard to simply get people to listen to your music, the space shared by devoted music listeners flooded with a relentless barrage of new music every day. Even at a time when our bullshit radars and trusted filters are at their sharpest, a substantial portion of the good stuff is bound to slip through the cracks into oblivion.

Daffy Maestro’s case then, is an interesting one: Dabbling in production for over a decade, and putting out EPs and remixes with workhorse-like consistency during the last few years, the young producer has recently roused interest with a couple of scintillating remixes. 2013 has seen him up the ante with a slew of releases, an year which he has capped off with the Home EP, a cohesive collection of four tracks that span 20 minutes. The EPs cover art and track titles implie a rather earthly return to his roots, or a quest to find meaning from a chaotic and jumbled state (it’s anyone’s guess).

And there are plenty of things to write Home abt: Daffy’s sound design is that of a busy bee, multiple elements working overtime to form a stormy and layered cacophony of sound. The muddle of ingredients on “Green Starfish” gets wrapped by an always-there bass wave. The icy “Spiders” is like a hectic meet-up between Amon Tobin and Bee Mask, its smudgy and twinkling bells, white-noise percussion and drugged-out rhythm sounding like Actress did (a whole lot of) acid instead of (a whole lot of) weed. The last few minutes of the track is lewd and disorientating, an alien-voiced numbers station morphing into a vaguely hiphop groove — like Kool Keith dropped 10Gs to commission an android to make that future funk inside his head. There are missteps too: the frantic DnB beat coerced on to the otherwise impressive “Empty House”, feels out of place.

But from the very first echo of its opening piano chord, the clear standout here is “Horse Shoe Crab“: Driven by a near-breakbeat that keeps rolling and spiraling forward, the track fuses the best traits of Daffy’s music into a seamless, frenzied whole. A restlessly wobbly bassline, lost at sea amidst a synth hailstorm, is keeled into balance (halfway in) by an existential dream of a melody. It’s a track that should have been (at least in theory) a mess — tiny, scattershot drums buried underneath a wall-of-sound assault of echoes, pins, squeals and everything in between — but Daffy masterfully steers an army of sounds through an equally rough sea. It’s a dense and deeply arresting work, waves of sound striking you with the emergency of nature’s cathartic force.

There are shades of brilliance on the Home EP: the liquid synth glaciers on “Spiders”, the alien funk of its last half, the oceanic melody that ebbs and flows “Horse Shoe Crab” into shore. And yet, our original question remains: Have these moments done enough to build that busy signal which could pierce through a muddled musical landscape and get inside the right filters? Perhaps only time can tell. Or perhaps there is only one surefire way for Daffy to find out — continue to hustle as relentlessly hard as his music.

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released 17 November 2013

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