February 6, 2013

Adam Wray is really The Professor from the And 1 videos.

Dauwd’s sound is nothing if not of its time. Stacked with steady 4/4 rhythms, down-pitched vocal snatches, and neon synths, it fits snugly with the style of Chicago-indebted house plied by producers like Julio Bashmore and George Fitzgerald.

With just two 12″s and a remix to his name, the London-based Dauwd is less than prolific, but what his work lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality and consistency. He has a deft touch, recalling acts like The Field in his careful blending of organic and electronic sounds, and great instincts. He writes tunes with strong, deliberate arcs, typically stretching past the five-minute mark without sounding tedious or overcooked.

“And” is the lead single from Heat Division, Dauwd’s debut EP forthcoming on Ann Arbor’s Ghostly International. It opens with syncopated percussion recalling Burial that’s slowly perforated by fluttering synths and a familiar 4/4 beat. He works this groove over, adding sparse vocals and hi-hats, repeatedly stripping it down and building it back up. So far, this is Dauwd’s greatest strength as a producer — he explores his ideas fully, offering multiple perspectives in the space of a tune.

Enjoyable as “And” is, you can’t help but feel Dauwd’s capable of more. It’s a supremely competent production, but lacks the energy of his earlier releases. The talent is clearly there, but he’s yet to find a voice that’s distinctly his own. That comes with practice – the support of a venerable imprint like Ghostly won’t hurt, either. I’m eager to find out what Dauwd will offer us with the remainder of Heat Division.

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