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  • Filed under: Review
  • 03/15/2013

Dauwd Heat Division

After somewhat quietly releasing two impressive EPs in 2011, Heat Division marks the first release from Dauwd in over 14 months. As the four-track EP proves though, this period of laying low has clearly benefitted the producer's craft, and on his first record of 2013—which is also his first to come with the Ghostly seal of approval—the UK producer delivers an effort that greatly expands on the promise of his earlier work.

From the sound of this EP, it seems safe to say that Dauwd was not too confused or too distracted to make music during his off period, but rather spent the time considering his art and tinkering with where exactly it could go next. His pair of releases for Pictures ("Could it Be" b/w "Shimmer" and the What's There EP) were undoubtedly well crafted, but when compared with the four cuts of Heat Division, they lack a certain distinctiveness. On his previous EPs, one could easily trace Dauwd's direct influences, but on this outing, he makes a grand step into his own form.

Despite its title, Heat Division prefers to rest cool chords atop the songs' full-bodied low end and airy drums, which usually come enhanced by layers of crisp, percussive textures. There is a slightly cleaner quality to Dauwd's work here, an extra dose of detail that has been added to the carefully placed drum samples and rich array of synth sounds. Still, Heat Division proves most unique in its sense of arrangement. Sections don't start and end—they fold into each other, taking clever twists or gradually shifting into new shapes.

Each track on the EP is strong in its own particular way, but "Silverse" is likely the record's standout. Of all the songs on Heat Division, it packs in the most memorable melodic content, thanks to the summer-tinged chords which occupy the track's first push and a delightfully jumpy synth line that leads the charge during the song's latter half. "Silverse" also nicely displays Dauwd's proficiency with arrangement, turning into unexpected corners constantly while never disturbing the groove. This restlessness may make the track a little less appropriate for club use than its counterparts on the EP, but renders it much stronger as a standalone composition.

In the end, Heat Divisions's 20-plus-minute run is respectably solid from beginning to end. Dauwd's proven knack for crafting enveloping chord progressions and melodic patterns has remained intact as his sonic dexterity and attention to detail has improved, making this his strongest outing to date and one that speaks well for an eventual full-length that—considering Ghostly's involvement—seems very likely to be in the works.

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