dan le sac releases his debut solo album Space Between The Words on Sunday Best on July 9th. Written, produced and with vocals from Dan himself, the album features collaborations with Emma-Lee Moss, Merz, Sarah Williams White, B Dolan, Joshua Idehen and Pete Hefferan.
“With this album” Dan ventures, “working with so many different people, writing songs, it brought the producer in me back to the fore, in fact, it made me imagine never doing a gig again.”
Fans of his long-standing partnership with Scroobius Pip needn’t worry, he doesn’t mean the last part - in fact they have gigs forthcoming - he’s just reveling in his creative reinvigoration. Taking a step sideways from the percussive atmospherics that were the backdrop to Pip’s words on Top 40 albums ‘Angles’ (2008) and ‘The Logic of Chance’ (2010), Dan embraces everything from electro-pop to psychedelia, all accompanied by an impressive array of vocal talent.
Along the way he lets the spotlight fall on some wonderful, fresh new vocalists, as well as working with one of his musical heroes, the cult electronic folk singer Merz, who appears on the album’s opening number, a pulsing house-pop gem, ‘Long Night of Life’ and the lush melodic song ‘Zephyr’ that seems to have escaped from the late 1960s via le sac’s electronica time machine.
Dan hasn’t veered completely away from rap and spoken word as the groovy, chatted ‘Tuning’ shows, a collaboration with long-term peer and poet Joshua Idehen. There are also two songs featuring rising mic-master B. Dolan, the bass-punching party tune ‘Good Time Gang War’ and the crafty, crunk-tinted smasher, ‘Caretaker’. “In the last year or so,” Dan admits, “B. Dolan has become my favourite rapper of all time. He has that real rap thugginess but he’s also really intense about how he writes, intellectual but with the sense of humour you’d expect from a big, New England, baldy, bearded bloke.”
An established name who contributes her unique voice to ‘Space Between The Words’ is Emma-Lee Moss. ‘Memorial’ is a delightful surprise, it has a touch of Shirley Bassey Bond theme about it, albeit filtered through clubbier beats.
Elsewhere Dan showcases hot rising singers Sarah Williams White and Pete Hefferan. The former appears on the crisp, catchy and engagingly funky single ‘Play Along’. Hefferan - formerly of Pete & The Pirates - sings on one of the album’s two covers, a deliciously doleful, piano-tinted take on Arab Strap’s ‘Cherubs’, a tune Dan had wanted to record for years. He likens it to Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ as a “wonderfully tuneful bit of depression”.
dan le sac’s reputation for vibrant good times at festivals and club nights is unarguable, but he’s also proved with ‘Space Between The Words’ that he’s a lot more than simply the bloke behind the bloke with the big beard. He’s a musical force to be reckoned with and in ‘Space Between The Words’, an album dan le sac has created a smart, zingy debut shot that will appeal to fans of indie, dance, hip hop, electronica and much else besides. It’s one to file alongside Metronomy, Hot Chip and Field Music as a sharply individual snapshot of modern pop’s endless possibilities.