MIMO - When Music is Your Fix

Dan Deacon ‘Gliss Riffer’ – Album Review

Domino (2015)

After addressing the state of the nation on 2012’s electro-orchestral America, Baltimore oddball Dan Deacon sets his sights a little lower on Gliss Riffer, a ‘back-to-basics’ affair in which he simply aims to prove that he can relax.

Largely recorded on the road during last year’s support slot on Arcade Fire’s tour, these eight soundscapes may be a little less ambitious in scope, but they’re hardly the minimalistic and calming fare you might expect from the 33-year-old’s pre-release spiel.

Indeed, only the glacial electronica of the slightly meandering closer “Steely Blues” offers any proof of Dan Deacon’s ability to unwind, with even the track named “Learning To Relax” failing to sit still with its stuttering samples and effervescent beats.

Instead, the self-proclaimed weirdo revels in a typically dizzying blend of disembodied robotic vocals, echo-laden synths and giddy percussion, with the Steve Reich-meets-Oneohtrix Point Never acid trip of “Take It To The Max,” and the existential psychedelia of “When I Was Done Dying” perhaps the most avant-garde examples.

However, Gliss Riffer is arguably at its finest when it ventures towards more song-based territory, namely the ethereal electro-pop of opener “Feel The Lightning,” in which Deacon pitch-shifts his brooding baritone vocals to resemble a sweetly-sung chanteuse, and the exuberant electro-punk of “Sheathed Wings,” even if the latter is drenched in so much reverb that it sounds as though it’s been recorded entirely underwater.

As with the rest of Dan Deacon’s back catalogue, Gliss Riffer may take several listens for its unadulterated chaos to make sense. But it’s another mesmerising piece of work which proves few producers can weave together such a complex tapestry of sounds so skillfully.


4 / 5 stars     

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

Tagged: , ,
Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music, Featured


No Comments