Daniel Givens: Dayclear & First Dark

MC-DJ-poet Givens brings a unique personal history to Dayclear & First Dark, his first full-length since Age five years ago. Not only does the sophomore effort embody his experiences as a gay black man inhabiting New York's concrete jungle in the post-9/11 era, it's also about coming to terms with a childhood friend killed by Jeffery Dahmer. Abetted by Semay Wu's cello, Matana Roberts' sax, and hallucinatory vocal flavourings from Ihu Anyanwu, Lehni Lamide, and Monstah Blak, Givens drapes his gravelly voice over hypnotic voodoo grooves created from digital textures, samples, and drum machines. While the album's apocalyptic ambiance suggests the unyielding presence of imminent threat, Givens preaches action, not resignation (“You've got to fetch the future”). Think of Dayclear & First Dark as the dark and spacey spawn of Tricky, Sun Ra, Kraftwerk, Gil Scott-Heron, and Agharta-era Miles.

November 2004