Most of these songs will reveal all kinds of sonic craziness to be enjoyed over a long span of time – in fact, at 3:50 in length, the opening track „Tageweise“ is one of the three shortest cuts to be found on Epopöe. So that alone should tell ya something.
When it comes to adventurous sound and textural tones though, believe me, „Tageweise“ might be shorter in length, but still maximized in terms of its exploratory vibes and the way the music is continuously engaging at all times. This is instrumental music that is practically guaranteed to be enjoyed by one & all – which is really saying something considering the fact that instrumental music rarely is, and for how creatively ambitious Dadanaut’s music is too. It’s rare to hear this level of skill and imagination played with such passion & precision though…so I’m thinking it’s largely because of that, you’ll find a record like this is able to break through the stigma and barriers that typically hold back instrumental tunes from reaching the masses. Because … well … LISTEN to it will ya?
„Tageweise“ is brilliantly creative, all kinds of fun, and engaging to the nth degree. It’d be much harder to resist a song like this than to just give in to it, even if you’re the sing-along type that needs vocals in every tune you listen to. Dadanaut proves on track one that not a word is necessary.
Where things get trickier…is moments like you’ll find on „Morgenkühl,“ where the intro into the song is an expansive & spread-out two-minutes or so of the total of nine…with volume down so low, it’ll have you questioning whether or not the music is still actually playing after „Tageweise“ finished beforehand. So don’t get me wrong…for me personally, I’m used to that kind of stuff, and I’m more than willing to stick with it, even for two minutes…but I’m not the average everyday listener. Those folks are bound to get a whole lot restless as the gratuitous intro to „Morgenkühl“ carries on…and when it does finally reach the main meat of its melody & such…I dunno…I think they’re gonna have split opinions on whether or not it was truly worth the wait, or if it was worth it to have to reach over to the volume and make sure their music-player was still on. I enjoy it! Like I said, I’m not everyone when it comes to what I choose to listen to. Do I think that there’s about a four-five minute version of „Morgenkühl“ that could potentially make a bigger impact? Perhaps. Not gonna lie about that – it’s a very spacious song, to the point where you could almost consider „Morgenkühl“ to be a tune you’d find in the ambient section, or a song on a soundtrack supporting visuals onscreen. It’s tough to imagine what people will make of this one…I’d suspect that „Morgenkühl“ will have a few people scratching their heads and wondering if the record will be more like this song, or more like „Tageweise“ from before. The real answer is neither really…Dadanaut seems to go naturally where the music goes, wherever that may be.
„Scherbenstück“ has plenty of beautiful intensity to it, a slow-burning kind that rages like a cold fire. It can be subtle at times, expressive at others, and straight wild at the peak of its melody…it’s a versatile cut on the Epopöe record that really offers a little something for everyone to enjoy, yet is still designed much more for the artistic crowd likely than anyone else. As in…yes there are hooks to a degree, but it’s not the main priority, know what I mean? The real priority in Dadanaut’s music seems much more geared towards exploratory & expressive sound that is as adventurous as it is ambitious. As you climb past the two-minute mark of „Scherbenstück,“ you get that audible sense of triumph…similar to how you’d feel listening to tunes from Mogwai that have the instrumentally epic feeling at the heights of the melodies they create. You feel like you’ve accomplished something just by listening and taking the journey with them, or in this case, with Dadanaut…personally, I dig that…songs like this feel like they take us somewhere other than our living room or wherever we listen to our music, and that’s priceless.
A track like „Ypsilon“ would probably remind people more of something like the surrounding instrumentation in a Pink Floyd record than something like Mogwai…though maybe both…that’s definitely possible if you’re familiar with both bands. „Ypsilon“ goes for a highly atmospheric type of vibe…like you’re out there in the wide-open of space and exploring the unknown, completely with all the extra clicks and beeps of the computers running to guide you along the edge of the universe. It’s meaty stuff…Dadanaut has crafted these songs on Epopöe to really draw on our own imagination to fill in the blanks and project what we see in our mind’s eye as the theme or feelings we get from listening. That’s plenty cool to me though…it gives each experience an interpretive value that ascribes a bit more meaning to us personally, and all without the use of a single word. While I’d readily admit there’s a few frequencies and tones that are probably broadcasting a bit outside of what the average everyday listener would normally be able to hang with, for those of us that really do appreciate audible art, Dadanaut is readily supplying. Even in the low-key breakdown of „Ypsilon“ you have to give this dude some real credit for finding the uniqueness in the material being created, and how willingly it gets mined & explored straight to the fringe for what could be offered within each song. So for example, listening to „Ypsilon“ unwind itself to create it ending in itself is remarkable, after all the creativity we’ve experienced throughout the song, even hearing it fizzle out in a deconstructed way is truly impressive.
I’m well aware of the typical threshold & patience level of the average listener though…and I’d be the last person to tell ya that Dadanaut isn’t somewhat testing that along the way with such lengthy tunes. „Nebelgespinst“ hits the eight-minute mark, and it’s not even the longest song on Epopöe! For some folks listening, that kind of approach and slow reveal is going to work wonders – like for me, it’s akin to great storytelling…I’m more than okay with listening to how a longer song chooses to unfold along the way. For others, there’s a good chance that something like „Nebelgespinst“ tests that threshold more than some of the other tracks, or perhaps doesn’t quite do enough to keep people as engaged as they would like to be – and I get that. For the record, I’m sure Dadanaut gets it too. I don’t think people really make too many tunes over the five-minute mark by accident. The key is to not let the art become gratuitous or grandiose for no good reason…you just don’t want length for length’s sake and nothing more, you feel me? I think it’s important to remember that a real good story can often come with some very slow build up…and for me, „Nebelgespinst“ was a lot like that. I’d even tell ya that the real climax of this sonic tale probably takes place within the sixth minute too…with the final minute being more of a denouement or a conclusion to what we’ve experienced & the aftermath of the journey we’ve been on. I don’t think songs need to always move mountains from point-A to point-B…“Nebelgespinst“ is almost unpredictably chill for the length it possesses at first, but after a couple of spins, it’s quite comforting really. It’s got a meditative/trance-like quality to it that’s captivating and mesmerizing without a doubt.
I’m always hopeful that people will get the art in music that attempts to be more than just another mere listening experience, and Epopöe is definitely an undeniably adventurous attempt in that regard. Sure, you could go and listen to another top-40 record…and maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky enough, you can find some meaning in that…but I’m tellin’ ya folks…if you open the doors of your imagination just a little bit wider to let something unique like Dadanaut’s new record in, you’ll find your life is that much more richer for having taken the ride. „Wirrsinn“ is a great example of what this record is really all about at its core, and how we often feel the music we hear…it simply connects to our soul in a way that hits different for all the right reasons. Full of curious melody and mysterious sounds, „Wirrsinn“ also has that remarkably triumphant feeling to it…a majestic vibe that can’t be understated or ignored – but most crucially, it’s sincere. You never feel like Dadanaut is forcing anything…it’s a very natural glide into the unknown, through the voyage of music – and honestly, that’s pretty damn cool if you ask me. We never feel like anything is pretentious or designed purposely to impress – songs like „Wirrsinn“ very well might impress you, yes – but not because that’s the target Dadanaut was aiming for so much as it’s the natural byproduct of doing what you love, and being willing to explore what music can provide us with on a sensory level. Records like Epopöe and songs like „Wirrsinn“ appeal directly to our imagination.
The most you’re really going to find me conceding to you about this album is that, sure, the shorter songs probably stand a much better chance of reaching the ears of the masses. That’s a pretty natural conclusion to draw to though…that’s kind of how people work and exactly why most cuts you’ll ever find on your radio dial range between 3:30 to 4:30. „Expedition“ is actually even a bit shorter than that, but again, you’ll find that Dadanaut uses the time cleverly with plenty of texture and tones that we can feel. Sensory sound y’all…it’s got genuine value to it – it’s what makes music more than just listening to it, and it’s tracks like „Expedition“ that feel vivid and real like we could reach out and touch them. Songs like this conjure up imagery in our mind, and play like mini-movies…our brainwaves love these kind of frequencies & mental stimulation. Plus it’s got a steady beat to it too, which never hurts. „Expedition“ is the kind of cut that’ll meet halfway in between the realm of pure art and entertainment in a way that everyone can enjoy and get a little something out of. Not so much any kind of compromise, just smart structure and songwriting at the end of the day…a track that has an array of sound & range of ideas that give a song like this a genuine chance at reaching everyone’s ears for a whole variety of valid reasons.
Again, I’d readily advocate on behalf of a song like „Dunkeldenker“ that is over nine & a half-minutes long, but easily recognize not everyone’s gonna share my opinion on that. The reality is, you spend an incredible amount of time with a fairly stoic melody and beat that is absolutely freakin’ superb to listen to, but admittedly, doesn’t really change too much on the surface. One of the most heavily atmospheric ideas you’ll find on this record, it’s not until you pass about six-minutes in that you get some fairly major twists and turns in comparison to the rest of what you heard…and even then, like I was telling you before, it’s not exactly like we’re moving mountains so much as Dadanaut’s doing just enough to have us noticing the difference between those moments and the surrounding ambient minutes before & after. I personally really liked „Dunkeldenker“ – I think it’s actually terrifically unique and extremely well-executed too…but I like to listen to a whole lot of things. At the end of the day, if you told me that „Dunkeldenker“ makes you restless at points through its nine-plus minutes of length, I’d get it – that would make sense as it’s how most people would probably feel about nine-plus minutes of just about anything in life. Sometimes music can be a great reminder of how we need to stop doing everything all at once, put down our phones for a second, and just listen. „Dunkeldenker“ has those wonderful meditative qualities that Dadanaut does so very well, and is as fascinating as it is subtle if you ask me.
At the end of the day, it’s just straight-up interesting music to listen to…that’s what we’re dealing with here. Dadanaut is anti-typical, and truly engaging. Whether it’s the more subtle moments along the way throughout the lineup of Epopöe, or tracks like „Kinematograph“ that have a more tangible set of reasons as to why we’d be listening to them, Dadanaut has found all kinds of remarkable ways to show us a different vision of what sound can be like to experience, and should be commended for it, 100%. Just because something isn’t gonna make it to the radio stations in this world does nothing to dictate its credibility – especially on an artistic level, which is exactly why/how a record like this gets made in the first place. I love the haunting, eerie, mysterious & curious vibes of a track like „Kinematograph“ – you simply won’t find music like this on every playlist, which makes this record that much more special to listen to on the whole. This is inventive stuff, no matter how you slice it – and I’d put „Kinematograph“ up there with the finest examples of why we can claim that – it’s an authentic slice of audible genius.
Finishing it off with „Katharsis,“ Dadanaut creates a strong & compelling conclusion to this new album with brilliant doses of bright atmospheric melody mixed in along with a similar eeriness that haunts this exploratory vibe. All-in-all, it’s a stellar last cut…one that makes you feel like you’re just about to embark on an entirely new voyage, even while you’re reaching the end…and if that ain’t a reason to repeat this record, I’m not sure what else could be. It’s brilliantly well-produced from start to finish, and ideas like „Katharsis“ really have teeth to’em…this is a very smart track that knows exactly how to earn our attention through the cleverness of texture, tone, and production combined. Like I’ve been tellin’ ya all along throughout this review, Dadanaut has an understanding of what sensory sound is unlike any other…and ultimately, that’s what leads a record like Epopöe to victory throughout its set-list. With no finer example of how all that good stuff tweaks our curiosity and provokes our synapses to start firing away than „Katharsis“ does at the end – Dadanaut’s scored a massive win for both music & art on this album without question, and given our minds plenty to consider as our ears are relentlessly entertained.
A review by Jer of Sleeping Bag Studios (CA):
released December 30, 2022
This time Dadanaut is Dink all alone ... again.
Thanks for pre-listening and opinions: Felix, Andrea, Bobby, Jer and Henri.