Having a child can be utterly exhausting. For those who have not experienced it, this statement couldn’t be more true. Not only do you find yourself suddenly sleep-deprived, you also begin experiencing strange sensations and hallucinations as you go longer and longer without adequate rest. By the time you feel you can no longer function properly, you suddenly find yourself able to sleep nearly any for any amount of time at nearly any time of day. It’s a self-preservation method that helps new parents make their way through the first several years of child rearing.
That anyone would have the extra time, let alone energy, to find creative endeavors comes as something of a marvel. But each new parent must find their own outlet in order to retain some semblance of who they once were. For musicians, the creative process never truly ceases. Rather it’s only a matter of finding the time to create as before, prioritizing and focusing with a heretofore unknown level of precision. A new father himself, Dan Lissvik found the only time afforded him to continue to pursue his creative outlet to be well after everyone else went to sleep. Naturally, he opted for the title Midnight – the time after which the majority of the album was recorded – for his first release under his own name.
Exploring a sort of funk/pop hypnosis, Midnight unfolds as a series of abstract jams that allowed Lissvik, former half of Gothenburg, Sweden’s Studio, to further his creative exploits. Utilizing an analog graphic equalizer he happened upon at a flea market, bass guitar and single mic, Lissvik set about exploring the inherent potential of each in the wake of his newfound status as father. With time at a premium, these recordings retain a certain sense of urgency despite their post-midnight recording times. Opening track “M” is a taut bit of burbling funk that eases its way in before expanding into post-disco in miniature. It’s an invigorating, cyclical groove that at times sounds Moroder-esque.
All things considered, Midnight is a surprisingly invigorating album of free-flowing late-night jams that weave in and out of dance-ability as they make their way deeper and deeper into the night. On the epic “D,” Lissvik employs a repetitive figure reminiscent of low-key take on Moroder’s “The Chase.” Where the former is struck through with the feeling of creeping dread, “D” instead takes a more playful, carefree approach that sees it cycling through its nearly 9-minute running time with ease. It’s one of Midnight’s most insistent grooves and a fine distillation of Lissvik’s work as a whole on the album. Propulsive, insistent electronic drums, burbling synths and fluttering electronics skitter about the track, carried along on a steady 4/4 rhythm.
“N” plays more with time and space, allowing the rhythm to slow as a series acoustic guitar arpeggios slide across the track. Complemented by a series of electronic burbles and bleeps, the track finally cedes control to the electronic drums as they slowly and insistently take control, gradually but intently pushing the other elements forward. By the halfway point, it’s a full funk groove with heavily syncopated guitar set against an increasingly prominent beat. Yet like the rest Midnight, it never truly takes off, instead simply simmering and threatening to boil over into something larger.
Meanwhile, “G” offers a wicked bit of strutting electro-funk replete with electric piano, stuttering guitar and bubbling bass groove underpinning the whole thing. It’s one of the few moments on the album wherein Lissvik seems to be truly letting himself go, fully immersed in the creative process and allowing the music to reflect this accordingly. At under three minutes, “H” offers an anomalously ominous G-funk groove that leads Midnight to a rather muted conclusion in the circularly repetitive “T.”
That much of the album carries with it something of a restrained feel shouldn’t come as any surprise given the time and circumstances under which the recordings were made. Perfect for after hours listening or a momentarily reprieve from reality, Midnight offers Dan Lissvik the chance to continue to explore his creative potential without waking the kids.
Artist: Dan Lissvik
Label: Smalltown Supersound
Release Date: June 10, 2016