An absurdist with incredible electronic chops, Dan Deacon has been on the radar since 2003 in Baltimore’s art scene and eventually exploding in 2007 nation-wide. His first full-length album, Spiderman of the Rings(2007,Carpark) took some time to release, but the wait was worth it. The result was an epic electronic pop album that captured the attention of the underground music scene as well as national acclaim as one of the best albums of 2007.
Dan is not one of the usual artists. He is an innovator and he is changing pop music forever. A graduate from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory, Dan has both a Bachelor’s and Masters’ degree in music composition and the control he maintains over these epic sounds make his education speak for itself. He has developed a unique voice through knowledge of major electronic composers such as Edgard Varese, Iannis Xenakis, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. His use of poly-rhythms and chromatic modulations are at once a breath of fresh air in popular music today as well as accessible to non-musicians.
This type of artistic accessibility has found a great home in his new album Bromst (2009, Carpark). Dan’s sound is even larger than Spiderman of the Rings, which makes since because it involves a collective-style collaboration with other Carpark artists as well as Brooklyn-based percussion wizards, So Percussion. Dan’s touring roster is as large as 15 musicians, whereas in the past, it was only Dan and his electronics. Build Voice, the first track on Bromst, is a great summary of Dan’s two full length albums in that it contains the poly-rhythms, his Deacon-signature chromatic modulations, and a massive, emotionally charged melody. If Spiderman of the Rings was one of the best albums of 2007, then it would be fair to say Bromst is and should be listed as the best album of 2009. There will not be another album as musically diverse and well put together released this year. It is due out on March 24, and it has even caught the attention of NPR, who is streaming the full album on their website until the album’s release.
With all of this success and touring, Dan has not lost touch with his fan base. In fact, he always tries to involve fans as much as possible. For example, prior to his tour, he needed notated music to give the musicians that would be touring with him, so he hired fans for $15 an hour to copy the music. Who else does this kind of thing? He remains approachable and will still be available after shows to interact with fans. He once even published his iChat screen name as a myspace bulletin, so fans can talk to him whenever he is online.
Dan Deacon is one of those few artists that is wildly imaginative, yet remains humble and he deserves every bit of the success he has today. Hopefully, he will continue to grow and make further, much needed impacts on today’s pop scene.