Jakarta – Daniel Blake (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Delicacy. That’s the word that best sums up the nature of Daniel Blake’s latest EP. You can throw about all the genres and labels that you like, but the common denominator of the music found here, the music that he has always been so deft at fashioning, is its gossamer and fragile nature. Not ambient, that would suggest an emptiness and perhaps lack of structure. Delicacy is exactly the right word.

Across five songs he shows that you can blend folk infusions, gentle pop sensibilities, singer-songwriter authenticity, universally relatable story-telling and shimmering soundscapes into songs that let the light in brilliantly. And in doing so, the gaps between the notes, the pauses for breath between the words are filled with kaleidoscopic atmospheres and pools of dappled sonics.

The title track is the jewel in this multi-coloured crown, a song whose beat adds just the right amount of solidity so that the drifting sonics and floating vocals are tethered perfectly. Around this, he sets out his music stall. Heartbreaker is a gorgeously unhurried opener, edged and etched with chiming guitar licks and ambient washes of sound, Where’d You Go a supple and subtle song shot through with deftly placed electronic pulses. Rounding things off is Freeway, a lovely piece of West Coast vibe that speaks of travel, fresh starts, adventure and the open road.

Circle Mountain was a great introduction for me to Daniel Blake. Jakarta is the EP that made me really fall in love with his music.

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