SELF-RELEASED (GEN001, 12”)
Is there anyone out there who can assure me that Ifan Dafydd isn't a James Blake alias? Because if it isn't, ladies and gentlemen, we're dealing with the first great imitator (rather blatantly, too) of the maker of “CMYK” - the record from Blake's already extensive discography this mysterious vinyl most resembles. It is without any apparent label backing it up and full of breaks, cut-up vocals, hints at a song and subtle tributes to the kind of 2step garage where fragments of soul diva voices form part of a complex rhythmical frame. But, apparently, Ifan Dafydd isn't James Blake in disguise, but rather one who adores James Blake's music so much he shapes his own according to it; and James Blake has made it known he knows about these two tracks (there's a rumour they're made by a former roommate).
I have to ask myself if so much cheek is legitimate, when it comes to getting inspiration. The patterns of “No Good” and “Miranda” are so obviously early James Blake, the sound before he changed his style using his tremendously soulful voice for “Limit To Your Love”. However, there is some distance between the two of them. Ifan Dafydd is more about the rhythm and club sound than James Blake is these days (not counting his most recent single on Hemlock, “Pan / Order”), which, though it may seem contradictory, puts him behind. He’s like a less evolved version, albeit with addictive beats and great cut'n'paste skills regarding the vocal fragments (from Amy Winehouse's “No Good”, by the way); creating a kind of hypnotic vocodelia. I suppose you just have to forget that Ifan resembles James so much (like we forgot that Burial's first imitators were imitating Burial) in order to appreciate the fact that these two tracks are very good. He'll find his own way soon enough.
Claude T. Hill