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Val Maira


An epic sonic journey crossing classic Kompakt territory, from pop ambient to tuneful techno and house, Val Maira is not just the extended follow-up to Berlin's Dave DK's much-adored 2013 Palmaille 12" (KOM 277EP), but a sonic achievement in its own right; a work as delicate as it is candid, ultimately -- magically -- amounting to so much more than the mere sum of its parts. Named after a valley in the Italian mountains, Val Maira goes beyond admittedly impressive production skills, aiming for deeply personal expressiveness and emotional impact. From the tender dawning of opener "Fade In" to the solid dance chops of enticingly grooving cuts like "Smukke Lyde," "Nueva Cancion," and "Coolette," the album's preoccupation with the mutual dependencies of harmony and discord is quickly revealed; as Dave says, "I've tried to create an interlocking atmosphere of merriment and melancholy for the full duration of an album... I hope that one can hear a little bit of hope in the tracks, like everything's going to be fine... Although you can be incredibly creative thanks to limitless digital means, I think that the biggest challenge lies in creating a link to something human, generating feelings of warmth that reach and move the listener." Dave's meticulous planning and development ("before anything else, I need an idea and a general notion of the development of a track -- just jamming doesn't work well for me") translate into a deeply organic sound, apparent on such tracks as "Halma," "Veira," and "Whitehill," the latter featuring the distinctive vocals of Piper Davis (Stimming). One could describe these tracks as both intimate and sociable at the same time, a rare combination that might also account for the vivid sonic storytelling present in cuts like "Kronsee" or "We Mix At Six," the synesthetic retelling of a delayed party at the beaches of Barcelona, where someone spray-painted the title's vital information on a T-shirt swaying in the summer breeze. Heavily influenced by film soundtracks, drone sounds, and organic noise, Dave DK obviously feels very close to the perpetual atmospheric hum in between sounds, finding hooks in the tiniest nooks and crannies -- and to hear these 11 tracks lovingly intertwining their inspirations while seemingly creating nutrient-rich textures and meaningful melodies out of thin ether remains a riveting experience even after the nth playback. Double LP pressed on 180-gram vinyl; includes CD.