Navigate is the new synthpop album from Daniel Hall, who lives in Australia. Sometimes dark, and always melodic, Navigate is the perfect audio vessel to navigate through life.
Daniel says, “Navigate is a journey through some aspects of our lives already travelled but is also a journey into the unknown future.
There are some obvious inspirations on the album and you can hear sounds musically and vocally from the following bands in the songs, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Gary Numan (Music for Aliens) The Human League, Heaven 17, Naked Eyes, Yazoo, De/Vision, Massive Attack (Rules).”
Loveless, the lead single, features the refrain “Where is love?” The theme of no love at all is an unusual one. Daniel considers, when you feel in love, is the love truly there at all? It’s an interesting take on a love song and something a little different. It’s this approach and level of thinking that sets Daniel’s music apart from the rest.
Music for Aliens is the opening track and unlike anything Daniel has created before. Quite off-the-wall, Music for Aliens reigns itself in so it never strays into avant-garde territory and remains firmly synthpop.
Overall, Navigate is, in my eyes, Daniel Hall’s best album to date. Musically it is very strong and lyrically Daniel is treading new ground. Available online for streaming and on Bandcamp on CD and download, Navigate will enhance your collection.
Human is Daniel Hall’s 15th solo album. Inspired by the myriad of 1980s Synthpop artists, and those who continue in this genre to the current day, Daniel has created a multi-faceted world on this album that explores the different sides of humanity. Definitely an album to listen to time and again, Human is steeped in dark, but still melodic, tones.
The album opener, and previous single, The Watchman begins proceedings. With a moody, atmospheric intro, Daniel describes a man who lives to watch the oceans at night. This is not only the man’s occupation, but also his vocation. The beat kicks in and all is well. This mid-tempo stomper breathes life into the image of The Watchman and serves as an intriguing appetiser for the album.
Also a single, Invader comes next with a strong intro. “We feel something brewing, what we knew is no more,” Daniel sings, enticing us with the dark tones that were hinted at on the first track. This track feels very much like something magical being created from a dark place. Are you “…the invader of the heart?”
The third track, and standout moment, comes on the third track, Corruption. The pulsating, driving beat and bass feel intense and really highlights the biting lyrics. We are all aware of those supposed figureheads that, when examined closely, only seem to offer corruption and the seedy side of what it means to be human. Daniel encapsulates the strong feelings that these individuals provoke.
Draconian Days is a more upbeat (tempo wise) track. With a stunning vocal delivery by one of my all-time favourite singers, Stephen Newton, who adds to the Depeche Mode feel of this track. Daniel’s sense of melody flows from Stephen’s mouth in a creamy, silky manner. This allows the important statements about humanity that this track has lyrically to not sound blunt. Instead this song is smooth and soulful and brings, to me, a beacon of hope in these difficult times that we currently find ourselves in. This is a big highlight of this album, and that says a lot as every single track with no exceptions is a keeper. Daniel Hall is definitely on top of his game here.
Human also features a further two singles in The Fireman and the forthcoming Fear. The whole of this album deserves to be savoured, devoured and then played again. The final track, Humanoid, is the most unusual of all the tracks. It has a cinematic feel to it and precision production. Some synth sounds are unexpected and the power of this track, when turned up loud, is unbelievable.
All-in-all, Human by Daniel Hall is a very classy album that is delivered in his usual perfect production and musicianship. I do not use the word perfect lightly either. This album has impressed me a great deal and is well worth the download price. Check out Daniel’s Bandcamp page for a limited edition physical USB copy of the album, you won’t be disappointed. From start to finish, this album draws you into its deviant world without taking anything away from the wonderful pop craft that shines here.
LorD and Master is musician, producer and songwriter, Daniel Graham. From the United Kingdom, he is a purveyor of SynthPop melodies with great pop sensibilities. His latest album, Dialogue, is no exception. A stunning collection of pop songs are found here.
From the opening bars of first track, Four Walls, we are drawn into a musical beauty with the very eighties sounds he chooses for his synthesizers. This opening track has a cool vocoder vocal. The robotic voice declares he should get out more, but the singer feels he can’t. This sense of entrapment flows throughout a lot of the album’s lyrical themes. I feel that the four-month lockdown in England, from March 2020 to July 2020, has had a great impact upon LorD and Master and his lyrics. However, this album is amazingly upbeat in it’s tone and sound.
LorD and Master manages a great balancing act with great style and panache that many can’t achieve. This balancing act is the great, British tradition of mixing positive, uplifting music with more sinister, less-happy lyrics. LorD and Master joins these two opposing feelings beautifully in a manner reminiscent of SynthPop giants, Pet Shop Boys.
The lead single, Silent Disco, is a celebration of club life in a very uplifting way. Many of the tracks on Dialogue have this cool, retro-but-modern feel to them. Once you reach the end of this album, you really want to listen again from the beginning. There is so much to discover on multiple listens as you fully appreciate the subtleties of LorD and Master’s synthesizer skills.
Dialogue is a brilliant album, and far more impressive than Pet Shop Boys’ most recent release. I recommend you check this out today and dive into SynthPop life.
Out on 23rd October, 2020 on my record label Pink Dolphin Music Ltd, a brand new single choc-a-block full of gorgeous Synth-pop remixes.
The Watchman – Remixes is a 6-track EP by Daniel Hall.
Daniel is British born but lives in Australia, which has been his home for many years. He writes, composes, performs and produces pop songs based around drum machines and synthesizers. He is influenced by many artists, but his love of Depeche Mode shines through here.
The first track on the Download EP and CD is Daniel‘s original version. Dark, soft and moody; The Watchman tells a tale of a person who works very hard, looking over and after people, as they go about their daily lives.
Next up is the Wave In Head remix, which beefs up the original song with Wave In Head‘s trademark sound. He even adds his own vocals into the mix, adding another dimension.
Fused, a Synth-pop Master in his own right, provides us with two versions of his remix. His take on the song is with a big, sweeping synth sound with a great production value. Fused‘s remix is presented both with vocals and without.
Screamershock is a producer who traverses many musical styles within the Electronic music genre. For his remix of The Watchman, Screamershock has stripped the track bare and down to it’s basic elements. He has added a dark, Numan-esque synth to the proceedings, making a more serious, gritty take on Daniel Hall‘s song.
Finally, but not least, we are presented with a superb, full-on remix from producer, songwriter and artist, LorD and Master. The LorD and Master remix takes its cue from the idea that applies to many great Northern British artists, melding a serious lyric with an uplifting production. Heavily influenced by Pet Shop Boys, this remix has a big, full sound and it powers along to the end.
All-in-all, The Watchman by Daniel Hall is a varied and enjoyable EP. Even though there are 6 versions here of the same song, the EP does not become repetitive or stale. All producers, and Daniel himself, have created a wonderful piece of work for all to enjoy.
Tim Macgregor was unknown to me before last week. His label, Shady Ridge Records, sent me a copy of this album to be considered for airplay on my radio show. The album really hit me in a subtle way.
Ambient – that’s the best way to describe Catamaran Selections. Not ambient in the way of minimal sound textures and drone music, but true ambient music – like Future Sound Of London used to make.
The album opens with a button being clicked on a tape machine and the tape rewinding. This made me nostalgic for the days when physical formats of musical releases ruled everyone. Most of the tracks on Catamaran Selections have a strong melodic sense and heavily reverbed synth pads. This creates a dreamy, atmospheric, almost heavenly canvas on to which Tim paints mid-paced drum machine patterns and repeating melodies. The whole album reminds me of Monet‘s paintings.
Stand out tracks for me include Quadrilateral Ocean Habitat that opens with the sound of the sea, and Searching For Alfred, which is less ambient and a little more upbeat than the other selections.
This is a very enjoyable and mesmerising album. I will be listening to more of Mr Macgregor‘s music from now on. If you want some background music to chill out to, this is your album!