I suspect procrastination is a dirty word to Danielle Ate The Sandwich. It’s only January but if I look back over what I’ve musically achieved in 2016 so far it’s not very prolific. I’m sure I’m not the only one. So whilst many of us have strummed a few tunes, perhaps thought about projects we can take a look at this year, Danielle set herself the task of writing and recording a new album… in 24 hours! On January 16th she began writing and recording, finding time to stream updates via Twitter (#DATS247), UStream and Facebook and on January 17th the album was available to buy. Wow.
I have seen similar stories before. The one that springs to mind is “My Beloved Monster“, a track from the first Eels album and known by many as “that song from Shrek”. On writing that tune E has said…
Jon Brion came over to my house and decided we were going to conduct an experiment where I’d go downstairs for 30 minutes and write a song and he would do the same upstairs.
“My Beloved Monster” was written almost twenty years ago and is still a strong fan favourite from which E has netted a substantial pension I have no doubt.
The question is, has a 24 hour experiment that includes the time to record as well as write yielded similarly fruitful results? Oh boy yes, it’s sensational! Danielle stuck to her stringent rules governing sleep (or lack of) and fresh ideas policy and produced an eight track album to be proud of. Had it taken her six months however, I’d still be writing this rave review.
The album is fairly stripped down as I’m sure you’d expect, sticking to impassioned vocals, mellow backing vocals, ukulele of course, banjo, a little percussion and some restrained bass lines. From this fundamental pallet Danielle manages to squeeze a great deal of diversity, a tribute to the quality of her song writing skills. Both musically and lyrically all eight songs are full of divergent character and polish which is a breathtaking 24 hour achievement for even the most gifted creative mind. You might expect at least one or two “fillers” but they’re simply not there.
Some of the personal highlights are the catchy melody and dual vocal chorus of “Midnight Dreaming” and the skipping ukulele strum that is “Wanna Talk About You”. This is gently ushered along by a simple shaker and makes use of subtle yet super effective contrasts in volume.
My favourite song of the whole experiment is the final track, “So Am I”. This intrigues me a great deal as I believe they are listed in the order that inspiration struck. That being so, you would think fatigue must have set in by the time it came to number eight! This final creation is built over a lo-fi sounding vocal loop which puts me in mind of “O Superman” by Laurie Anderson with a fantastic throw back sound to the early days of tape loops. A minimalist root note bass and rolling ukulele build on this repetition along with a rich emotional vocal delivery culminating in a snap ending with the perfect line to salute this extraordinary project. “So Am I” pushes all my personal taste buttons, it’s an impeccable song.
This album is a $5 life lesson. Throw yourself into whatever it is you love to do, just get on with it, let it all flood out. Be like Danielle for she has created a strong engaging album out of thin air in 24 hours and if we can all achieve just a small percentage of that vigour we’ll all be the better for it.
If you wish you purchase this or any of Danielle’s other releases just head on over to her Bandcamp page. You can find out more about Danielle on her website and to my fellow Brits I strongly suggest you get yourself along to GNUF 2016 to see Danielle Ate The Sandwich live in the UK!