Dné ‘Asos Model Crush’

Olivia here, and today I have something a little different for you to wrap your ears around. I’ve spoken before about the interesting ways that musicians can use classical traditions in popular music, and it remains a mainstay of good pop writing. However, some of you may have noticed a developing trend for instrumental music, devoid of lyrics and catchy hooks, providing something different, something more immersive and meditative than a traditional three minute pop song. Why the demand amongst younger people for this kind of music has increased I can’t say for sure, however the current political climate and decreasing opportunities for millennials has surely left some craving complete submersion in something beautiful. Prague based musician Dné (moniker of Ondrej Holy) does this wonderfully. His latest album ‘These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere‘ is largely piano based, his playing style reminiscent of Debussy’s delicate high-pitched melodies, of Ludovico Einaudi’s sparser arrangements, and of Arcade Fire’s work on the ‘Her‘ soundtrack. A decline Holy’s health caused by a rare muscle wasting disease forced him to look beyond electronic means of creating music; relying largely instead on the natural timbres of handclaps, foley effects, field recordings of everyday noise, and the piano. The effect is mesmerising, and without the constraints of genre (either classical or popular), the album is saturated with an overwhelming feeling of sincerity and honesty. In instrumental music, song titles do a lot to influence the listeners understanding of the music, and Holy uses them to great effect, as in ‘Asos Model Crush‘ (I’m sure we can all relate). It is more than the title however that makes this particular track so comprehensible. The sounds of everyday living juxtaposed with ethereal flourishes of piano and subtle synth drones evokes the dichotomy between normalcy and excitement in modern life; of late night encounters, of falling in love, of minutes turning into hours with phone in hands waiting for an important text message, of falling asleep in front of your laptop. It’s mundane meets magical, and it’s perfect listening for a Thursday night.

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