What happens when you take members of Wolf Eyes, Formant, Royal Trux, and Drainolith? The answer: a total mind-fuck. The other acceptable answer would be: Dan’l Boone, whose debut album came out last week on Drag City Records.
Neil Hagerty, Nate Young, Charles Ballas, and Alex Moskos all have a history in exploration, much like their namesake, Daniel Boone, although these guys push the boundaries of musical expression rather than exploring the American frontier. Another parcel of common ground between the band and the folk hero is how much their work confuses people. Some of the tales of Daniel's life are so tall you can't see the top, and this band makes you second-guess your mental stability.
First off, Dan'l Boone is a challenging record. These guys do everything in their power to make the listener work for the payoff. To most, the content here is too inaccessible to ever navigate to the point of enjoyment. However, those brave enough to give multiple listens may discover this is an exercise in innovation and imagination.
Where the pieces align to create an erratic cacophony, there are carefully placed samples and layers of synths that creep and throb, while the guitars and drums trip over themselves. Moments where there are vocals are sparse, and they're often indecipherable and heavily manipulated. As hard as it might be to arrive at the album's intended destination, it's equally as difficult to trace from where these tracks came. Seriously, Dan'l Boone is hurting my brain.
"Mindface," the album's most accessible track, is still exploratory in nature. However, Dan'l Boone gives the listener a little break from being pummeled by crackling and shrieking soundscapes. This self-titled debut feels like a song cycle that would fit perfectly in a Kubrick flick. If you're a fan of any of these musicians, Dan'l Boone is worth a listen.