D33J – Death Valley Oasis
- US - Original
Includes Free Digital Download Code.
Standard Edition Black Vinyl.
To hit play on D33J's long-awaited debut album is to tumble headlong into a rich sonic universe of captivating improbabilities. Where narcotic house music slow-pulses alongside deconstructed futuristic R&B and lush ambient dreamscapes. Where an astoundingly 3-D aural depth of field radiates with incredible intimacy. Where digital means of production are usurped by guitar play, analog synth, field recordings, or tape edits. Where experimentalism and accessibility aren't the least bit mutually exclusive. Perhaps that's why the taste-making Los Angeles producer and DJ named the project after a thing that doesn't, shouldn't, and couldn't exist: Death Valley Oasis.
We'd expect nothing less from D33J, who racks up plaudits whether he's rocking sweaty gigs with his Wedidit crewmates, producing blissed out rap tracks for Lil Yachty's albums and mixtapes, or composing solo songs that instantly immerse us in an ever-shifting grid of odd rhythms and melodies. It's all par for the course for someone who grew up in the hyper-cultural melting pot of Mid-City L.A., raised by a Rio-native father who promotes Brazilian cultural events and an East L.A.-born mother who, among other artistic ventures, designs elaborate Día de los Muertos coronas. The young Djavan Santos attended the city's esteemed (yet public) Hamilton High magnet school, joining the music program by falsely claiming he knew how to play guitar. But after taking a rare-for-its-time electronic music class, his talent became obvious. While there D33J not only met future tourmate and Death Valley Oasis collaborator Baths (see the beautiful four-four thumper "Wisp"), but played in bands with the surf-punkers who'd found FIDLAR, plus loaned his sweater to Odd Future's Syd in biology that one time. His path to now has never not been strange and fascinating, with stops at the San Francisco Art Institute for a degree in audio-visual design (which he plans to put to use on tour), and Hamburg for a two-month warehouse residency crafting tech-heavy interactive art installations, all while developing a peerless sound.
Death Valley Oasis came together over the last three years, each track slowly accreting the bits that'd make it whole while D33J worked from Wedidit's L.A. studio. Producing for others (Yachty, Tory Lanez, Killavesi, Purple) delayed things, sure, but it also honed his mastery as an engineer and instinct for the line where left field meets listenable. The end result, this album, contains no filler but there are standout moments: like Anticon labelmate and Dirty Projectors alumna Angel Deradoorian channelling her inner Destiny's Child on the jittery "Spark", or D33J taking a rare turn on the mic to wax druggily romantic on "Plateau," or the eerie Burial-like gloom-bomb that is "Dead Sea," or "Rot," a teamup with Shlohmo (who also provides the LP artwork) and soul man Corbin (a.k.a. Spooky Black) that opens on acoustic strum and reinvents the "quiet storm" genre before closing with something akin to death metal pounded out on an MPC. Again: a would-be oxymoron that actually plays as raw genius. Death Valley Oasis isn't just another entry in D33J's book of "Emotional Dance Music," as he once coined, it's the definitive tome and a paragon of what can be accomplished when a blatant disregard for musical boundaries is matched with ace technical ability and endless tangible heart. This is one to get lost in — the desert and the slake.
|A2.||Spark||Angel Derad...||Djavan Santos|
|A3.||Endless Fall||Djavan Santos|
|B2.||Static Sky||Djavan Santos|
|B3.||Dead Sea||Djavan Santos|
|B4.||Rot||Corbin, Shl...||Djavan Santos|
|B5.||Black Ice||Djavan Santos|
|B6.||Scattered Ashes||Djavan Santos|
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