Davey Dreamnation: ‘The Silence of Untold Sound’

Having watched in amazement as the world proceeded to ignore his other masterpiece (the abominable That’s Buddha mini-LP), Davey Dreamnation retreated to his Majorca lair, and rightly so. The Silence of Untold Sound, Dreamnation’s long-awaited swan-song, put to rest any doubts about his good intentions, while shedding no further light as to his real talent or chances of success.

Description

Having watched in amazement as the world proceeded to ignore his other masterpiece (the abominable That’s Buddha mini-LP), Davey Dreamnation retreated to his Majorca lair, and rightly so. The Silence of Untold Sound, Dreamnation’s long-awaited swan-song EP, put to rest any doubts about his good intentions, while shedding no further light as to his real talent or chances of success.

The master tapes of the EP itself were almost accidentally deleted and then restored, lovingly, from the remnants of two calculators and an Eyna record, in a remarkable tale of hardship, camaraderie and studio boffinry to rival anything Stung or Christy Burr might care to come up with. But let’s leave history to the historians, shall we?

Still, it’s worth pausing, for one second, to reflect upon the fact that The Silence of Untold Sound was DNRC’s one hundred and first release, and then to move on. The Silence of Untold Sound was also DNRC Records’ last release, following on almost immediately from the mis-timed and ill-conceived thought-experiment that was Scaramouche’s Quiche Lorraine.

The EP’s official release in 2011 also came almost exactly 10 years after the label’s inception in the heady early days of the new century, when the Sprite Levels ruled the roost, alongside a host of other Tribesco bands.

While this kind of contextual detail is essential for any appreciation of Dreamnation and DNRC Records, it provides no real entry point for any discussion of the music itself. This is a crucial observation, and one that does not need to be spelled out to the remaining two fans of Davey’s music. For the newcomer, the absence of any adequate descriptions for these songs should speak volumes.

Speaking of what’s missing, the absence of Clint Bo Dean on The Silence of Untold Sound is telling, as is that of Stung, Dreamnation’s supposed vocal coach, whose influence can be heard on neither of the two instrumental tracks: the cod-reggae ‘Son of Cave’ and the spooky-synth workout ‘Theme From Untold’.

Throughout these tracks, there’s a slightly disturbing sense that Dreamnation is asleep at the wheel, or else is not actually at the wheel at all, which begs even more questions. Things don’t get much better when we turn to an examination of the tracks that do feature vocals, as can be heard on opening track ‘You & Me’, where Stung’s helium-enhanced backing vocals spoil Dreamnation’s sometimes flawless lead performance.

Elsewhere, on ‘AH XMAS’ Dreamnation could be singing in Dutch but we’re never sure, the echo-drenched effects drowning out all meaning. One suspects the lyrics to ‘Fantasy One’, the EP’s so-called centrepiece, will not age well.

Of the afore-mentioned instrumentals, ‘Theme from Untold’ is the surprise standout, perhaps because it is the only song on that attempts to relate to the EP’s title. Its final two minutes surely represent a triumph of accidental skills over premeditation, and provide a fittingly ghost-like finale to a tortured artist’s career.

It seems almost redundant to point out, even to long-term fans of DNRC Records and its loopy founder, that when the end comes it comes not suddenly, drastically or with any kind of jitchiness but almost like blinking: there’s a long period of whimpers, followed by an almost everlasting silence that doesn’t seem to end, and then does.

The Silence of Untold Sound could hardly be described as a graceful exit but an exit it nevertheless remains. We can only speculate upon Dreamnation’s emotions at the precise moment when he deliberately deleted not just his final, definite masterpiece, but also his own wholly-manufactured self, right down to the last emoticon.

In the aftermath, we can only conclude by hoping, for Davey’s sake, not to mention the sake of all of the talented artists and other less-talented people who were involved in the DNRC Records project, that he has ascended to some plain of untold silence, and sounds, that will never be deleted.

No stars.

Additional information

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Track Listing

1. You and Me
2. A-H Xmas
3. Fantasy 1
4. Son of Cave
5. Theme from ‘Untold’

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