Dallas-based artist Datahowler has handcrafted a polysynthetic sci-fi cruise fueled by slowly strummed acoustics, hypnagogic vocals, bright piano notes, and Mowgli-vibing drums on his debut LP/space odyssey, Slowdrifter. A concoction that could have easily disappeared into conceptual quicksand is whisked away and prettily deconstructed at the intersection of Science Fiction Theater and a lo-fi meteor shower. That’s right. Not to mention homie played every single instrument you hear on the album.
Album opener “Dazees” comes together like a junk shop of earthbound instruments and spacey beats meeting for the first time in merri-go-round vibrato. The sound floats into “Lunarson”, an absolute highlight track that introduces snowy wind chimes, waning brass, and staggering drone within the framework of a gentle, controlled tempo. Fellow Dallas beat craftsman Juno Complex teamed up with Datahowler for this track, and it’s safe to say these fellas vibe.
The album really takes off (pun intended, haters) on “Moon Diamond Mining”, a track that introduces darker notes, thick siren synth, and spooky vocals fit for happy hour with Alfred Hitchcock. The smooth, cinematic abduction continues on “Crystal Unearthed”, a minimal intermission laced with retro sci-fi vocals samples and dark, tip-toeing guitar strings that would be right at home on Science Fiction Theater.
And then there is “Atom Blues”. The other-worldly tension melts all at once into the smoothest, warmest track on the album. Free form flows into a collage aesthetic that flows like maple syrup, a momentary recline on the journey. The space noir vocal samples reenter to teleport its partakers to “Space Jump”, where a rich, streaming synth carries claps and raw piano notes through a uber-chill haze.
Space chill vibes continue with more funky synth and guitar ventures on “Voltage”. The flow suddenly unfolds into the more glitchy, bongo and smoldering guitar track “Lurching Forward”, which in actuality paces forward like a chain-smoking space cowboy with just enough time to kill.
Duo tracks “Of Stars” and “From Suns” enlist sweet-sounding lo-fi guitars, snaps, and taps that pour like Hawaiian light rays through the subtle synthetics. The lighter texture provides a perfect backbone for “Prophet”, a tracks filled with humid layers of synth and hypnagogic drone that appropriately melt into the hovering synth sounds on “Heatstroke”.
Album closer “Data/Lapse” beasts forth with its boilerplate bass and untamed robot synth like a flying saucer coming back down to re-up before its next mission. If Slowdrifter is any reflection of Datahowler’s future experiments, then I demand an encore.[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Datahowler-Dazees.mp3|titles=Datahowler – Dazees]