On this glorious day, I am listening to the music of post-rock/ambient music composer, Dan Caine and his most recent album, Still Awake. It holds a strong resemblance to another artist I’ve reviewed in the past, musicformessier and as such, I do feel rather similar to it, but I’ll be sure to compare them during the review. Still Awake was released on the 29th of December, so is still a 2014 release, but we won’t split any hairs over it. Caine has also already started work on his new album and is planning on collabing with other musicians this year, so there’s plenty to keep an ear out for, if you like what you hear here today.
This album is very chill from start to finish and considering what it is, Still Awake does what it sets out to do. I just wish there was a little bit more variety to the sound that occurs so constantly throughout the album – lots of clean guitars with delay and plenty of gorgeous synths to help take you away to that special place of peace and serenity. However, when Caine utilises small amounts of distortion into his songs, everything becomes that little bit more interesting, for example: The Sleeping Masses, Beneath an Ancient Sky, Outrospect and Synergy all utilise very minimal usage of distortion guitar and it does help change up the pacing of things quite a bit.
Caine makes usage of small drum machines and this also helps keep things fresh and interesting to listen to. I’m going to mention Flight By Moonlight, the percussion here adds some real depth to the song and it’s the exact same with Synergy. It honestly feels like, to me at least, that any of the songs with drumming/percussion on them feel better than the ones without drumming and whilst I understand that this is (mostly) a solo guitar release, it feels like the drums are what make the song feel complete.
That’s not me saying that the guitar is rubbish and it should be a solo drum album, it shouldn’t. The guitars are synths are gorgeous and it goes from one gorgeous melody to another, but it would’ve been nicer to see some more standout melodies on the guitar – which again, leads me to the comparison with Musicformessier. The strongest part of this album, feels like it’s placing itself firmly in the middle, from The Sleeping Masses, to Faraway, Forogtten, right there, that’s where the gold on Still Awake resides.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being at peace with Dan Caine and I think anyone that’s into post-rock or ambient music will be right at home here. The middle of the album shows off Caine’s better and more adventurous side, but no matter what, you’ll be showered with lovely melodies and textures no matter what. Some more variety would have been nice, but if you take this album for what it is, you’ll love it.