Ifan Dafydd "Treehouse" b/w "To Me"
It's absolutely no surprise that when Ifan Dafydd first appeared on the scene with a couple of bootleg remixes streaming on YouTube, people thought it was James Blake operating under a pseudonym. The bubbly rhythms, the rich synth chords, the fractured vocal blips, the soulful musicality, the big sub frequencies; it was all a bit too coincidentally familiar. (Hell, the Welsh producer even looks a bit like Blake.) "Miranda" and "No Good" sounded like an ideal mix of the sullen ballads heard on the divisive James Blake and the percolating post-you-know-what offered by cuts like "CMYK," but, as it turns out, Dafydd is certainly his own man with his own tunes. His debut 12" for Push & Run, however, doesn't exactly prove it.
"Treehouse" and "To Me" are first and foremost the work of a talented producer, one who can balance spacious compositions with punchy, soundsystem-specific sonic quality. Oversized bass tones rumble underneath every piano and percussion bit that Dafydd recorded with a hefty dose of room tone, and for every gauzy, distant vocal utterance there's another clearer sound right beside it or atop it. "To Me" smooths things out a bit more after the a-side's brightly colored, baroque arrangements with lush string accompaniments and a more poignant melodic theme. After the song's slow-grooving first half and brief rhythm break, Dafydd takes things in a more straightforward direction with a few bars of a four-four beat and some steady melodic elements. It's probably the farthest he gets from his musical doppelganger on the whole record, and hopefully a path the producer will travel as his career continues.
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