Review Summary: NJ Native crafts an all at once soothing though booming, minimalistic albeit intricate, and overall absurdly successful pop record; perfect for your day at the beach.
For all the loose ideals and lack of evidence that comes with handing out genre tags in the blog-o-sphere, personally I couldn’t find a better terminology than chillwave to fit the music of New Jersey native Dayve Hawk. His vibrant mix of 80s synth-pop and Schaeffer-esque electroacoustic with a hard-on for shoegaze wash and bombastic house is a fair sonic embodiment of a warm, fulfilling day at the beach. His loops and samples generally build from their modest beginnings to a culmination of gargantuan beats, supremely melodic synth lines and ecstasy educing hooks that would send even the most practiced Madchester hop-head into a tizzy. Hawk’s meshing of an array of musical styling’s into a hazy lo-fi mold is not only a concrete aspect of his music, but chillwave
as a whole. Seek Magic
is just probably one of the better (best) outlooks you’d be given in terms of the genre,
but what sets Memory Tapes apart is just how human it all sounds. The sampler and drum-machine heavy music, and even Dayve’s distorted, almost robotically low-key vocals somehow add a sense of humanity to the whole thing. Like fellow chillwavers Neon Indian or Washed Out, Hawk embeds his innately cold music with the warmth of a human heart. His diatribes on the beginnings of innocent love (“Bicycle”) are just as potent as his lamentations of the loss of friends and youth (“Plain Material”), but in the end what holds it all together is the intricacies and uplifting nature of the music. If anything, that is exactly what Hawk has in excess, the ability to create paths between genres of music than seemingly shouldn’t exist. For what it is worth this mashing, coupled with the lo-fi recording make the album seem so personal. His whispers draw you in while the loops keep you waiting for that inevitable explosion; searching if you will, for the payoff. So you could say Seek Magic
isn’t so much an album title, but a life aesthetic, one Dayve Hawk is more than willing to soundtrack for you. Luckily for us though, this has a happy ending.