I’ve been music crushing on Dan Black since this summer when I first heard a snippet of his Notorious B.I.G./Rihanna-sampling smash “HYPNTZ.” Turns out that posting that track on MySpace was quite the smooth move for Black, who prior to this album was an unsigned talent banking on his Internet following. Since then of course his major label debut album ((un)) was released in Europe and I subsequently snatched it right up and me and Dan Black have been living in sonic bliss ever since…at least through my iPod headphones.
A labor of love, Black wrote and wrote some more. The stand outs in the batch would ultimately make it onto the album, including “Life Slash Dreams,” “Wonder,” and “U + Me =.” “HYPNTZ,” was replaced by “Symphonies” at the last minute, as Notorious B.I.G.’s camp wouldn’t allow Black to sample the lyrics from “Hypnotize.” Finishing the album off in Paris, after being signed, Black worked it out, making sure that every track was to his liking. As far as the title goes, Black describes the album as “an album of opposites.” “I like the idea of the u and the n being the same as each other, only upside down,” he says. “It’s also the perfect prefix; I wanted this album to be un-rock, un-hip hop, un-everything.”
As if things could get any better, I received word a couple of weeks ago that Dan’s debut album would be released stateside. Of course, I had lost all hope when I saw ((un)) appear on iTunes as a digital download. I got a little more hopeful when I saw “Symphonies” featured as the iTunes free Single of the Week in the U.S. I decided to inquire through Twitter about a physical release and learned that it was due for release February 23rd! SQUEEEEE!! While, yes, it’s true that more and more European artists are gaining notoriety here in the States, what’s more exciting to me is the shifting of the music climate here in the states. While Urban/Hip Hop and country do still dominate the U.S. charts, more and more pop/electro/dance artists are creeping in, more so from across the pond.
To help promote ((un))’s February 23rd release here in North America, Dan Black will be going on a short 5 city North American Tour, hitting New York City, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles and San Francisco. How exciting is this! Too bad he’s skipping Boston this time around, but perhaps I can get in to see him in either New York or Montreal? I have connections in both cities. Even if I miss out seeing him live, I’m elated that other music-fans will get the chance to hear this guy. He’s super talented…and super cute (an added benefit).
((un)) is a brilliant album (even sans “HYPNTZ”) “inspired as much by Black’s love for the ‘transcendent, emotional wonder’ of acts like Nick Drake and Sigur Ros as it is fueled by his passion for the hip hop production of J Dilla, Flying Lotus and Timbaland.'” Strings + hip hop beats + electro rhythms = Dan Black’s brilliant debut album. Go out and get it February 23rd! Watch this space for a proper album review as well as some new and exciting Dan Black news.
February 18 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
February 19 – Montreal, QC @ Belmont
February 20 – Toronto, ON @ WrongBar
February 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Cinespace
February 25 – San Francisco, CA @ Popscene / 330 Ritch