“Burning Of Wine” on Distance Recordings was my first introduction to Washington based artist Benjamin Dauer. Acute melodies enveloped in numerous field recordings and experimental improvisation, it was a great introduction to Benjamin’s talent, and one that he’s only improved and developed on since. His sound has progressed and with it, yet more great releases; his latest coming just a few weeks ago on Twice Removed following several unique contributions to the brilliant DisquietJunto project and now, a much anticipated Places Series release.
“The four songs contained on this EP are all ambient improvisations using a simple signal chain: Teenage Engineering OP-1 synth, Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo, TLAudio Fat Track summing console, and Ableton Live to simply record the output. I tried to capture a sense of the live recording by employing the built-in mic on the OP-1. As these songs slowly evolve, you will often hear me clicking buttons or shuffling between keys, knobs or the tape delay pedal”.
Organic, authentic and touching, Benjamin’s approach is captured perfectly amongst these four brilliant pieces; a homage to the very early hours overlooking his waking neighborhood…
Some nights are made for sitting back and just letting the world spin on its axis; nights to watch the snow fall and gaze over misty neon hazes in the distance. Dark skies and white snow always seem to cast a sleepy contrast but it’s also one shared by an almost motionless state.
It’s times like these Benjamin Dauer treasures; the still hours where life is yet to accelerate towards its grinding daily regimen; the wait before the first creaks of cold bones and commuter trains amplify the city.
“By day, I am a problem-solver,” Benjamin starts, “and each project comes with a slew of new requirements and problems. Things can move pretty quickly and before you know it, months have passed and the next one is coming down the pipeline.
“It means I cherish the early morning hours before I go in. It’s during these times that I feel a deep sense of peace and quiet and so my mind can wander, free of project goalposts and timelines.”
Free of these pressures, his “Twenty Three and Twenty Six EP” is testament to operating in a haze of AM detachment. Four drifting scores of ambient invention, tape echo and swimming delay, they’re musical explorations that are beautifully, subtly metrical. Awash with hypnotic rhythms and an unpolished human touch, each track feels like it plays out to its untraced, natural end.
“I love these happy accidents as I feel they are a natural part of the improvisation process” he explains. “I enjoy these opportunities to practice improvisation and I’ve discovered that these free-spirited explorations often end up feeling finely choreographed in the end. Perhaps this is some sort of primal response or urge to seek rhythm in my life?” he ponders.
Whatever the thought process, the still hours just got more beautiful.
(Place introduction by Reef Younis)