Soft awakening to a morning sun splitting rays around a gentle curve. Strings build grandeur, calculating location. Arrival. 63 days – a touch over two months, in this case two days – doesn’t allow for the general worries associated with making art. The only option is to start and build. Hopefully leaving yourself enough to edit in the end. But as Dan Le Sac realized while making 63 Days, there are no choices, so he completely immersed himself. The result, as he put it, is the most Dan Le Sac “a dan le sac album can be”. And that is a wonderful thing.
Dan Le Sac is best known for his work with Scroobius Pip, the Rabbinic Jew-looking, British ‘beat’ poet individual who shook grounds, and grumpied Pitchfork to the point where they suggested that the duo possessed the pompousness of a New Yorker subscriber – a hilarious statement considering Pitchfork is now owned by the same publishing giant as the New York literary holy grail. But Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip has been disbanded for nearly a decade at this point, and Le Sac has spent his most recent time making soundtracks for video games.
Those playful touches are evident on 63 Days. And here they have helped him build a unique sonic universe. “This album is the product of a challenge; can I write, record, mix and master an album in 63 days,” explains Le Sac about the impetus behind the record. “It is up to you to decide whether I achieved it, but from my perspective I did. With the time constraint came a freedom, no time to stress, no time to overthink, all I could do is write what I love.”
“It’s the most honest I’ve ever felt about music, and is the closest I’ve ever been to representing what is in my imagination,” he continues. And this is why 63 Days is such a success.
“Happy Bombs” paces through space in darkness with the light of glittering galaxies drifting by, and weight and light play in an endless stream of consciousness. “Indigo” expresses the color of its title in an almost big bang-esque revelatory manner. “In My Step” shows a tribalistic stomp where the stirred up dust mixes with the electronic wobble of planetary movement. And just past the midway point of the album, listeners meet “Snaggletooth”, the defining piece of the record. On it, practice meets finding the highest quality of play midway through a championship match. It is the joy of doing something for a long time and getting better at it, and then finally skipping to that next level where you are able to show exactly what you want.
The album ends with a beautiful flicker, the calm ticking clock of “She Builds Herself”. It’s like laying on your back and looking up at the stars shooting by.
Despite its universe building and general space exploration, 63 Days possesses a calm human element that stems from the natural need to create art. Here it’s done in an unencumbered state, there is no choice.
Play meets need throughout the record. Le Sac creates because he has put himself to task, but then he realizes he loves what he does, and then he plays. It’s what doing what you love should feel like. It’s work, and it’s not always easy, but the reward is unmeasurable.
“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance, and I know of no substitute for the force and beauty of it’s process,” said Henry James, and on 63 Days, the process has helped create something where art is no longer something Dan Le Sac does, but it is a piece of who he is.
HURRY – LISTEN AND BUY – DAN LE SAC