First Listen: Daphni "Jiaolong"

“Caribou means live, Daphni means DJ set.” That is what Dan Snaith says about his second moniker besides his beloved Caribou band project. He makes a clear distinction between the names, most of all so the audience knows what to expect from a live gig. He is still touring as Caribou this year, supporting Radiohead, but he is flying around the world to DJ as Daphni too, preferably back to back with his good friend Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet. He will release his first full length Daphni album “Jiaolong” on Merge on October 9th, containing tracks pre-released on an EP on his own label – called Jiaolong too – as well as previously unreleased material.

Snaith releases this album to get the Daphni part of his music to people who perhaps don’t go to clubs as much as others. “Jiaolong” leaked yesterday, and this offers me the opportunity to tell you what I think about it. First of all, don’t expect it to be a new Caribou album. It is more of a DJ mixtape, full of samples, loops and melodies put together for a quick listen. And it was quickly put together, as he himself said in interviews recently. He simply didn’t want to torment himself making music as Daphni, but enjoys the quick fix.

The record still sounds like Caribou in parts, with a dry beat and fast percussions laying the ground for bursts of melodies. But instead of complex and carefully built patterns he uses samples, and there is a steady beat going through all of the tracks – as is a must in a club gig, of course. Much in the same way Four Tet goes to the club with his new record “Pink”, so does Snaith, and so in the end “Jiaolong” is more functional than artistic. I am looking forward to experience his Daphni tracks in a club sometime soon, but I am going to wait for the new Caribou record that he apperently is working on right now to listen to at home.


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