Dani Siciliano - Slappers

2006-11-21 16:03
Oddly, Siciliano's new album has many of the elements that make popular music so popular. The ambient, playful chants of nursery rhymes. Prettyness. Some great melodies. Daring production that renders even more average tracks tasty, and perhaps most importantly, sex appeal (though admittedly, one based around character, not Britney's cutely tush-in-the-face-boys strain.)

Musical art like this proves that art is not just a simple sum of its parts. So where does it come from? Well it is linked to (and sonically resembles) her collaborator Matthew Herbert's work. It's through him that Dani's unusual voice first reached her large niche audience. They met at a party, got married, and started working together (but not in that order necessarily). Herbert has also recently released a great new album.

But Siciliano naturally seeks out the unusual. So tracks that could be million sellers are twisted, reshaped for more meaning, the cliches swallowed greedily, chewed and spat out as something more beautiful that glories in the gorgeousness of sound. But not for sound's sake. Her lyrics are also daring and scorn the obvious successfully, though occasionally to the point of being lazily obscure and becoming ridiculous.

"Be My Producer", in which she teasingly exhorts a producer to make her shine seems deceptively coy. Research reveals that she produced it all, and that every sound from the backing to the percussive beats is made from samples of her own voice. The swirling coloquial melodies and phrasing of "Kiss" and many other tracks prove that even a song about being too young for a relationship can sound new and moody and challenging when its cleverness and strong sense of concept pushes it out of the easy-to-sell pile of disposible pop.

Luckily, a niche in some overseas markets equals a platinum seller in our terms, so with the support of a worldwide audience of fans, Siciliano can keep doing what she's doing. If she were working here, Dani would have to freelance as graphic designer. At least the hotter talents among her colleagues then would be likely to enjoy her music and give her some encouragement as she toiled over the latest interactive flash intro...

One to buy for fans of good electronica. Have a listen to our audio podcast with Dani to hear more of the music in more detail. If you enjoy it, check out Herbert and Lark, and you might also enjoy the more experimental sounds of Kalahari Surfers.

- Jean Barker
This is designer music - pop meets electronica meets an artistic ethic of not seeking out a hit. It's about a long term investment in making good art as a career choice, not an ambitious attempt to popularise what will probably always be popular.

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