Dan Le Sac : Space Between the Words : album review

Dan Le Sac – Space Between the Words (Sunday Best)
CD / DL / LP
Available now

From dubstep to disco, drop your musical prejudice and pick up Dan Le Sac’s ‘solo’ effort Space Between the Words.

The collaboration of Dan’s music and Scroobius Pip’s spoken word has produced some of the most refreshing UK centric Hip-Hop of the last few years. There have been moments, such as the brilliance of the morphed abuse of Planet Telex on Letter from God to Man where Dan’s talents were allowed to rise to the fore, but generally on recordings and on stage Dan is the quiet one who stands at the back, comfortable to let Scroob’s character run free.

From the outset this ‘solo’ album creates clear space between Dan’s collaboration with Pip as Long Night of Life’s chilled strings and hand claps are so far removed from what you might be expecting that it has you looking at your iPhone to check that you have downloaded the right album.

The pace changes but the style takes a tangential spin to Play Along, a slice of chart inspired “r’n’b” that chirps its way into your head. Memorial, is unmistakedly rooted in the Bristol trip-hop scene of Portishead and Tricky and brings the opening act of the album to a head before the interlude of the more familiar Reprisals hearalds the kind of crunched 8 bit bounce that has been Dan’s live hallmark for some time as Tuning then Good Time Gang War and Hold Yourself Lightly step up.

Stearing a careful line between dubstep and disco these more familiar broken beats are the music of today’s youth reinterpreted to appeal across the spectrum from internet pirate to Radio 1 playlist.

Whilst Dan does provide vocals on some tracks like Zephyr, there are 7 collaborations on Space Between the Words and these can be as frustrating as they are brilliant. You’d be forgiven for forgetting that Merz had chart success more than a decade ago and for not knowing who Sarah Williams White is, but after listening to their contributions to Dan’s ‘solo’ album, you will find yourself searching out these other acts.

That Dan is able to command respect in the music industry is clear as his collusion with figure of note, Beth Mburu-Bowie demonstrates. Break of Dawn opens like so many of the current GrimesPoliciaBreton drones but goes on to distingush itself from the art school bilge with a confidence and beat that lifts the track way above its contemporaries.

Dan started out in the music business putting other people on the stage and Space Between the Words continues this approach. As an album it bridges several generations of music from Cherubs, which feels like it could be a Cure track from the 80’s, to the grimey dance floor angst of the last few years found within Caretaker. Therein lies the only fair criticism of this album, that it is a showreel, a compilation or superbly executed songs, but what you yearn for is an entire album of Dan collaborating with Emmy the Great and another full album of Dan with Joshua Idehen.

In stating so adamently that this is a ‘solo’ record, Dan may be trying too hard to distinguish his skill at filling the space between the words. His work is much more than that, he creates a shell, a delivery mechanism for the vocal talents of others that creates inspriationl, intelligent music.

Like a lionmark, the label “…..with Dan le Sac” should be recognised as the badge of quality and taste.

All words by @thisismusic. 

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