Review: Daniel Avery’s Gracious Harmony In ‘Love + Light’

Daniel Avery | Love + Light | Phantasy / Mute

Release Date: 26 June, 2020

When it comes to the work of renowned UK producer Daniel Avery, the artist is perhaps best known for his enigmatic and dynamic range of work. As one of the most beloved artists in the electronic industry, Avery’s appeal – aside from the bewitching nature present in the sheer skill of his craft – is largely from his distinct and highly alluring willingness to embrace a plethora of genres. Avery consistently showcases a bold approach in embracing a beautifully experimental ranges of textures, delving into realms of flourishing ambient soundscapes, crafting midnight-cloaked industrial works and the spellbinding, mesmerising dance floor cuts.

Recently Avery collaborated with acclaimed Nine Inch Nails synthesizer maestro Alessandro Cortini, after the pair were in contact for some time – before finally meeting when Avery toured together with brooding, industrial legends. Following the shadowy realm the pair created in ‘Illusion Of Time‘: the surprise release of Avery’s 3rd studio album ‘Love + Light‘, which takes a different approach to his brilliant collaboration with Cortini – perhaps coming at a time when, as we navigate the somewhat hellish landscape that has been the year 2020, couldn’t be more a more welcomed surprise.

This record has been a real positive force of energy in my life, to the point where it almost formed itself in front of me. In that same spirit, I wanted to share it with you now, as soon as it was finished. As I started to collect the pieces together, it was apparent that the album would be split into two distinct halves but halves that were inexorably tied together. One could not have existed without the other. Music has always been a source of personal strength for me yet I remain fascinated by the power it can possess of its own volition. Releasing the record in this way, just a couple of weeks after the final note had fallen, felt like a decision made by an outside force yet one I agreed with entirely. Stay safe, friends and I’ll see you on the other side soon.

DA xxx

When Avery speaks about the two halves (A & B) of ‘Love + Light’ being distinct yet “inexorably tied together” – this observation could not be more concise, as while each half differs quite greatly from the other: their work in tandem is balanced in a manner that not only succinctly demonstrates the words of Avery himself, but embodies the title of the album in a way that comes across as decidedly personal and noticeably genuine. The structure of ‘Love + Light’ is noticeably compelling as the artist showcases his signature skill when it comes to constructing and exploring the realms of electronic music he dwells within – and, as cliche as it may come across, the album truly exhibits an atmosphere that is particularly, bright yet emotional. The mix between the sunny and vigorously sympathetic collection of tracks shimmer vibrantly – even when it comes to his darker, more experimental tracks, which allow for a clear refreshing take.

In the first half of ‘Love + Light’, we see Avery embracing his love for dancefloor with buoyant tracks teeming with progressive, pounding beats and energizing percussive claps such as in ‘Dusting For Smoke‘. A track rich with the use of extraterrestrial electronic textures, ‘Dusting For Smoke’ is ripe with strange, intrigued synths as they traverse steady, captivating repetition: animated and driven, the demeanor glows with an experimental prowess. Avery’s willingness to experiment can be seen within tracks such as ‘Depth Wish‘ and ‘Searing Light, Forward Motion‘, where the producer pushes forward with industrial drones and frantic, distortion.

The second half mainly focuses on lavish, detailed soundscapes that hold within them a feeling of hope, and dedicate themselves to moments of calm and introspection: ‘Into The Arms Of Stillness‘ is a standout track – the glittering bloom of electronic ambience dotted with kind, chiming melodies, tranquil beats and delicate arpeggios amongst calm, glitching percussion sculpts a dreamlike atmosphere. The same can be said for tracks such as ‘A Song In E5‘, whose ethereal synthesizer swells, idyllic beats and elegant melodies make for an authentically delightful dive into Avery’s harmonious ambient side.

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Rating: 7 / 10

Feature Image: Daniel Avery by Vincent Arbele