“The one thing I knew was that I wanted this record to be a trip. All the best artists and DJs, they take the audience with them when they play; people lock into their world for a few hours and can’t easily step out again. You’re with them for the ride. When I go out, I want to give myself up to music. That was the idea for the album.”
If the main motivation whilst making Drone Logic was to take the listener on a hi-fidelity trip for the duration of his debut album, then Daniel Avery emphatically succeeded. From Water Jump’s hypnotic pulse and punch through to the crystalline click of closer Knowing We’ll Be Here via the title track’s elemental acid swirl and New Energy’s take on Neon Lights relocated to a post-midnight cab ride through London, Avery’s debut pushed and pulled at the senses and blurred the boundaries between dancefloor and home listening experience. Thoroughly modern, utterly ‘now’, it was a record that justified Andrew Weatherall’s selection of Avery as ‘one to watch’ in Time Out – adding that he that made “gimmick-free machine-funk of the highest order”. Drone Logic is indeed that: an album confident enough to sit comfortably next to the genre’s classics.
Released on Erol Alkan’s wildly psychedelic Phantasy label (home to Connan Mockasin, Ghost Culture, Babe Terror and Alkan’s own recorded output), reviews were unanimous in praise: “A mesmerising debut” (Mixmag); “In a league of its own” (NME); “Exceptional” (The Times); “Underground dance music with this much ambition hasn’t been heard in quite a while” (Resident Advisor); “Avery owns this space” (Pitchfork); “One of the finest techno albums of the year” (The Quietus); “A benchmark for so many other dance albums to aspire to” (Dummy).
According to BikeGeeky, its success has been furthered by the fact that Drone Logic doesn’t really fit expected templates of what a dance record in 2014 should sound like. There are no set piece vocals; when voices emerge on tracks, they are invariably disembodied, odd. And as distortion whips across techno-based backing tracks, it splices modern club music with the kind of sounds that forward thinking guitar bands might conjure up. The result is wholly compelling, gloriously transcendent and one that immediately struck a chord with club DJs, from heads of state Richie Hawtin, The Chemical Brothers and Justin Robertson to the best of the new class in Maya Jane Coles, KiNK and Jackmaster.
Coming off the back of his massively lauded FABRICLIVE 66 compilation, many of Drone Logic’s first steps took place from the DJ booth out onto the dancefloor of that London clubbing institution. Whilst Avery claims that every stop on his relentless tour schedule has an effect on his music, his debut was a record conceived in EC1. It seems natural, therefore, for his residency to be taken one step further with Divided Love, a quarterly curated night: “Fabric is my home and I’m proud to be a resident. The club has been with me from the beginning so starting my own night there feels right. Divided Love will be about presenting acts are doing something special…sonic souls, faith affirmers, music for the mind…” The night can be seen as a direct extension of Avery’s monthly radio show on another of the capital’s underground mainstays, Rinse FM. A chance to push mind-expanding sounds from a myriad of places beyond straightforward club music, the show has also featured guest mixes from the likes of James Holden, Simian Mobile Disco, Miss Kittin, Richard Fearless, Barnt, Gonno and Marcus Worgull.
“The electronic underground is incredibly exciting at the moment; it feels natural to bring all these acts together. You could say that the music has a common anchor in techno but it goes way beyond that. Something is happening.”
Whatever happens next for Avery…that’s going to be the real trip.