Review: Dan Deacon’s Immersive World Of Kaleidoscopic Transcendence In ‘Mystic Familiar’

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Dan Deacon | Mystic Familiar | Domino

Release Date: 31 January, 2020

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland – composer and musician Dan Deacon has always been known for his eclectic, colourful personality when it comes to his work; often when thinking of Deacon, the vivid glow of his live performances and collaborative multimedia projects come to mind. Deacon’s live performances are that of a lucid dream; with the entire audience being incorporated into the experience – vigorous movement and powerful hypnotism.

With a distinct, luminous psychedelia and out-there artistic experimentations, the musician displays bright, emotive energy in his compositions; akin to his stunning collaboration with Adult Swim, which sees his track ‘When I was Done Dying’ projected through fantastical, narrative driven animation by nine animators.

These conceptual ideas have been present since the artists musical debut, along with his skill in composing film scores – with an example being his scores for an extraordinary eight films since the release of his 2015 LP ‘Gliss Riffer’; with ‘Mystic Familiar’ being his follow up five years on – as eccentric, and filled with personality as ever – with the inspiration of his meditative practices weaving intricately within each track; Deacon’s thoughtful, philosophical wisdom a noticeable factor running throughout the album.

The album opener ‘Become A Mountain‘ whirls with a jubilant effervescence; sprightly keys bouncing in introduction, twinkling arpeggios glittering in a bubblegum sky; an eccentric flutter of psychedelic colours sing kaleidoscopic in a beautiful, bright chaos. Deacon’s vocal musings glow in reverie, a reflection of his lucid meditative experiences – otherworldly and insightful – looking toward a hopeful future. The track sprouts vivid imagery, a story; the submerge into a whirlpool of rapidly morphing patterns as layers of sound gliding effortlessly with one another. Blooming as beams of sunlight; the spirited synths and overlaying resonance fashion a fantastical crescendo, a heavily immersive soundscape cradling Deacon’s dreamlike vocals – a genuine feel of joy and contemplation.

Sat By A Tree‘ embodies the honey-glazed, whimsical and playful nature of Deacon’s signature style of eclectic, synth-pop; the opening sonorous springy bass foreboding in introduction – rich, rhythmic percussion pulsates, woven with melodic timbres as guides into an electrifying wall of sound, a bold, luminous breakthrough. The lustrous bass line holds steady beneath the prismatic symphony of vivid electronics; illustrious vocals swell into spacey, starlit choirs – a rapturous, textural companionship. A segue into a moment of reflection sees mischievous, alien synths curiously circling a tender, reverb soaked voice – falling without care, into an immersive, shimmering close.

Gazing over a seascape rippling with delay, the opening waves of ‘Fell Into The Ocean‘ rise and fall in rhythmic reflection; Deacon’s echoic vocals forming as silken clouds over a shimmering, restless tide. Inquisitive call-and-respond vocals glow with the curiosity of youth; the oscillating ocean a children’s storybook, flipping through pages of loving reassurance as the lyrics reflect a comforting narrative, a surrender to nature. A heartwarming swell into a transcendent state of being, the track carries a rosy mesmer in it’s lively curiosity – while still gleaming with a trance-inducing, knowledgable optimism (cradling even the ‘darker’ subjects present in the album) the boisterous nature of Deacon’s sound is channelled into a tone of loving acceptance.

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Dan Deacon via Facebook