Daniel Avery has been quite busy this year. He released a joint-album with Alessandro Cortini Illusion Of Time back in March, has put out loose singles like “JXJ” as part of the The Longest Day compilation to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and now today, another new album. The new LP, titled Love + Light suggests it is broken up into two halves and that is exactly what was intended.
The first half is built for the club or the image of what it was. The songs are darker, more intense and purposeful. Some like “Searing Light, Forward Motion” can slap you right in the face with relentless drums, dark ambiance and a frenetic pace. Others like “Darlinnn” are slightly more subdued, drawing the listener in to a drawn out and hypnotic dance.
However, the album then flips out of the loving embrace of the dancefloor from Love and into the warm ambiance of Light with “After The Fire.” The title gives away the hint that the pummeling kick drums are in the past and you can lay back in peace with soft melodies and swirling synths.
The two parts don’t completely contrast though. They are meant to compliment each other and to better explain how they are linked, we had Avery dive deeper with a Director’s Cut feature.
Listen to the album now and read on for his break down of the record by each part. Get your copy here.
“I had been in the studio ever since Song For Alpha came out in 2018. And then our world stopped turning in the way we all knew. I was able to sit down with a lot of music I had been making and started to put things into some sort of order, just as an experiment to see how they could all work together. These two halves started to almost form themselves. And by that, I mean they naturally fell into place together. They formed in a way that just felt natural and organic. The tracks were mostly already there, or at least in demo form. Having that space in my life to take a step back and see what I had been working on relentlessly, whilst touring and trying to find time away from the road, gave me a bit of perspective on what I had. I realized how much I had been working on stuff. As a whole, that's how the overall idea of the album came together.
Saying that, the album has two distinct halves. That is clearly intentional. The first half is based more directly in the club world. And this just came about from working on club tracks. When I put the tracks "Dream Distortion" and "Dusting For Smoke" next to each other, it was exciting. It didn't feel forced or pressured. It didn't feel like I was making it for a specific reason. I really didn't have a reason. As with everyone, my touring life disappeared in front of me. But to have those tracks work together in the way that they did and then to have a track like "Searing Light, Forward Motion" – the most extreme example of a club track I've ever made – it all just seemed to work together. And I think, again, it's because there was no pressure and no expectation to make it any sort of way. It just felt like a positive energy was present.
The track "Infinite Future" – for me, that's a track that completely summarizes how I'm feeling right now about making music. I feel the most comfortable and the most excited about making music that I've ever felt. I can put that down to some sort of feeling of freedom that seems to be present right now.
All of this has been helped largely by finishing the record Illusion of Time with Alessandro Cortini earlier this year. Making Illusion of Time taught me so much about the overall process of making music. Alessandro believes in music having a life of its own and the best pieces come about when you respect that: imperfections being beautiful, the importance of the first take, the idea that if an album feels like an album or if a track feels it's finished, then that's probably the case and you haven't got to overthink it beyond that point.
The track "Infinite Future," which was finished around the same time as Illusion of Time, I can't really tell you what its direct influences are. I can't tell you exactly what I was intending to do with that, but it's one of my favorite things I've ever done. I think because I was able to take a step back and take the pressure away from myself in the studio, it ended up being a pretty good summary of every record I've ever listened to, every influence I've ever had, and every experience I've known on the road. Unconsciously. That really sums up the Love + Light album. It's a track that came about somewhat on its own. It was nothing but a pleasure to be a part of that ride with the music.
The entire Love + Light album is my most personal thing to date, in a way, and the second half in particular. It all returns to this idea of not putting expectation on what the music should be, entering the studio and allowing the energy of that day to take over and to accept that process is going to happen. Embrace that process. The club stuff came about on one half. The more ambient, quieter, and emotional stuff came about just as naturally.
Overall, that second half has a dreamlike quality that has always drawn me to music. I feel as if it's probably the most honest side of music for that very reason. This idea of a dream state has become increasingly important to me over the years, those thoughts that come to you when you least expect them, those ideas that seem to come from a different place entirely. But if you just let them in, they're the most interesting ones. Don't push those ideas away, embrace them.
The album title, Love + Light, came about from a dream I had right at the start of this initial lockdown. In which, a character, I don't know who, came up to me and said the phrase, "love and light, that's all there is, love and light." And I woke up knowing that was going to have some sort of impact on what I was going to do. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that has to be the name of the music that I am putting together.
It can be read many ways, but to me it's this idea of hope. Our lives have been changed almost overnight by this current situation. One thing I've found is that this idea of hope, of light, of love is a thing that will always be present and will always be some kind of guiding factor to us if we allow it to be. Those connections you have with the world, with certain people, with certain places – memories are formed through all of them. Those are the things that will remain through anything else. The making of this record was nothing but a positive force in that regard, music being a constant in our lives, the power of it and the strength it can give you. For me, that's what the second half is about – a reminder that music will ultimately always be there. It's never let me down once. It's shown me some form of light during this time.
I would even extend that idea of music being everlasting to why this album is an album. It easily could have been two EPs or a clubby 12" with something else tacked onto it. But the strength I found through it, I felt I owed it to be an album. I put as much weight on it as I had felt from the making of it. Whilst there are two halves, they come together as one whole, as one album. As albums do, it will last a long time. I've always loved the idea of making something that will last way after I've gone. That's how I want to be judged. If I'm going to be judged on anything through music, I want it to be through the music itself. This time has proven that everything can change overnight, but if you can make something that you are proud of, that's honest, and that's going to last a long time, as long as I can keep doing that, I am happy. That's what keeps me going.