When Dan Snaith first adopted his Daphni alias, he was almost a decade into a galloping career making catchy electronic rock as Caribou, on the verge of global success thanks to his 2010 album, Swim. Though Caribou's eclectic music never shied away from rhythms that made people move, it also hadn't yet taken on the club environment in full. Re-embracing DJ'ing as a creative outlet around 2009, Snaith did so under a new guise.
"I made Daphni tracks just to play in my DJ sets," he told me by Skype from his studio in London. "It was music made for the purpose of playing out that weekend." At the beginning, this meant mostly remixes and re-edits of records in Caribou's existing palette (psychedelic rock, weird synth recordings, lost soul-funk nuggets, West African dance bands), then added contemporary club flavors (Chicago/Detroit/Berlin/London techno and house minimalists). By 2011 though, Daphni had a dance-floor hit ("Ye Ye," an infectious bit of house music built out of a William Onyeabor sample that spread like wildfire); and the following year, he released an album collecting his work under the pseudonym to critical acclaim. But the basic practical purpose of Daphni's creative output remained. Until now.
Among the fascinating things about Fabriclive 93, Snaith's contribution to the famed London club's celebrated mix series, is the collapse of the notion of Daphni as "purely functional" DJ music, without betraying its central "for dancing" premise. Almost every one of mix's 73 minutes, its loops, kick-drums and patches (all created specifically for this album) are there to instigate a party. Yet few of the 27 so-called "tracks" will be played stand-alone in Daphni's next DJ set. That's because Fabriclive 93 is a singular pastiche of sounds, one long original composition synthesized together from numerous miniatures. Or, as Snaith says, "It's almost a category mistake: yes, it's a continuously mixed piece of music, but I didn't put it together by DJ'ing and I didn't put it together imagining that it would be played in Fabric or in any other club." Still — oh, how it bumps in the car.
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