There is a lot to be said for being an artist with a defined sound and in full control of what they do. But there is also a lot to be had by working with other people and seeing where such collaborations take your music. It requires faith in the artists that you work with but it can also result in the music expanding, evolving and being taken to new heights, fresh sonic pastures compared with the song that you might have initially heard in your head. Not everyone is brave enough to loosen their grip on their own creations, thankfully, Daniel Sarver is.
Part of Me is the result of his collaboration with various singers and producers from around the world and the result is a slick, modern and accessible pop record. It is, as I mentioned, pop more than anything else but lean into the music and it isn’t hard to hear strands of succulent soul, gentle r&b, chilled dance grooves and more besides, running through the music.
The title track is built on chiming cascades of piano lines, sparse, unadorned and wonderfully effective with Sean’s soft and sentimental vocals dancing deftly over the top. At the other extreme, there are more upbeat moments. Change is driven by infectious yet understated dance grooves, Mirror, Mirror is a late-night dance anthem waiting for its moment to be embraced by the clubland masses and Escape Room featuring the poised pop vocal delivery of Olya Gram, is a minimalist masterpiece. Sense of You is sweeping and string-driven, Mariposa is soulful and stirring and Gone is spacious and sensual.
If I have one criticism it would be that the album is too long, 12 tracks rather than the 16 found here would have made for a more concise collection, It isn’t so much that the quality wanes over the almost one hour of music but the attention span of the listener might. But as criticisms go, that is something that I’m sure Daniel Sarver can live with.
So, chilled pop for the modern age, a wonderfully collaborative process and a collection of spacious and restrained music that matches cutting edge music-making with the best traditions of not only pop but soul, chilled out dance and a host of other influences. If any of those are your go-to genres then Daniel Sarver is one to watch. Actually, even outside those musical realms, I’m sure that it is a name that you are going to be hearing more and more.