Release Date 10/18/2019
The birdsong that greets blinking clubbers when the venue spits them back onto the street. The soup of electromagnetic signals that everyone wades through on the trek home. The thought patterns that criss-cross the subconscious in the liminal space between night and day.
These are the symphonies that circle Jacques Greene’s second album, Dawn Chorus. If the Canadian artist’s 2017 debut album Feel Infinite was the soundtrack to a dream pregame – amping you up to lose yourself in the dance – then Dawn Chorus resides in the post-rave reflective moment. A time of heightened sensuality and latent possibility.
Now 29, Greene has been making music “about the club rather than for the club” for over a decade. His sound could be described as an emotional blur, in that its balance of sonic elements work to illuminate the overlapping feelings that lie between the familiar binaries. It’s a quality he also appreciates in other music. “I think that’s true of all my favourite rock bands, like Slowdive or Radiohead,” says Greene. “It's kind of sad music but there are these undeniable euphoric moments throughout.”
Greene approached the making of Dawn Chorus as if he himself was a band. He sat in the studio for five months this past winter – half the time at home in Toronto, the other half in Hudson Mohawke’s studio in L.A. – and wrote a bunch of songs as quickly as he could to capture this one chapter in his life. While samples played a big part in his early output as a producer, his creative process for Dawn Chorus revolved around studio sessions with a stellar cast of musicians. The record features percussion from film composer Brian Reitzell (Lost In Translation), cello by London’s Oliver Coates, and vocal contributions from ambient artist Julianna Barwick and three of Greene’s Canadian peers: rapper Cadence Weapon and singers Ebhoni and Rochelle Jordan.
To craft the sound of the record, he thought about the artists he held dear and researched the gear they used as a means of being in dialogue with their emotional tenor. “Instead of sampling R&B vocals,” he explains, “I was trying to sample studio mythologies and mindsets.” Some of the gear he sourced includes a Yamaha SPX90, which has a delay that shoegazers My Bloody Valentine are renowned for, and a “terrible compressor” that French Touch producers Alan Braxe and Fred Falke were fond of. Working with mix engineer Joel Ford (of Ford & Lopatin), he created a rule book for the album’s sonics that saw each part, from the drums to the pads, be processed in a specific way. Working with Ford, says Greene, “was like realising why movie directors have editors.”
Dawn Chorus opens with “Serenity,” an all-back-to-mine breaks tune that Greene describes as “a weird, euphoric take on Chemical Brothers.” Lead single “Night Service” is a neon-lit hip house anthem helmed by Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon, who drapes a love letter to the club around Greene’s acid-dipped synths. Elsewhere, “Distance” blends ambient textures with sampled birdsong and the snaking lines of Oliver Coates’s cello.
Outside of his own releases, Jacques Greene has explored his relationship with the club in a variety of contexts, from remixing Radiohead to producing for Katy B and Tinashe and touring with The xx. His own live show has sold out The Roundhouse and St. John Hackney church in London, as well as the main room of Sónar By Night. Jacques Greene will tour Dawn Chorus in Europe and North America this October.