Dans Dans – I/II

by amy – October 8, 2017 in Music

i/ii - front coverDans Dans is a Belgian trio that performs  an experimental kind of instrumental jazz-rock with bass, guitar and drums. This album has been my sole introduction to their music, and it took time to grow on me, unveiling its beauty late one quiet evening (as good music often does) during what I realized halfway through was a cover of Tom Wait‘s “Yesterday Is Here.” And what a brilliant cover it is – deep, soft and rich. On this song and others, there is a lovely reverberant twang on the Western-flavored guitar with doom-laden overtones, calling to mind both the country/jazz/drone of Earth and the ambient doom jazz of Bohren & Der Club of Gore. But the pure sound of Dans Dans is less dark and weighty than those bands, and therefore appeals to a wider audience.I don’t know much of anything about jazz, but one thing I’ve learned is that it is traditional in jazz to do covers.  On this release Dans Dans has chosen to cover an interesting array of artists from the past half-century in addition to Tom Waits: Sun Ra, David Bowie, Ennio Morricone, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and Robert Wyatt. From their taste it’s not hard to see where they get their penchant for experimentation in the realm of progressive jazz rock.

As a side note, there is a track titled “De Su Propia Raíz O De Un Dios Disperso” which I discovered is a line from a poem by Jorge Luis Borges called Alguien (“Someone”). The line marks a key juncture of the poem, and translates roughly to “From its own source or from a dispersed god.” The line makes little sense extracted from the context of this brilliant poem, but nonetheless is an interesting song title and prompted me to search out its meaning.

This album flows easily, and is minimal and mellow for the most part, but gathers energy at certain climaxes. It bears the mark of careful craftsmen and learned musicians; artists who put thought into their arrangements. As such, it rewards the attentive ear.

I look forward to exploring more of Dans Dans’ music. I still haven’t figured out what the hell is pictured on the album cover.