Alan Wragg was there to witness Dan Snaith aka Daphni's 4 hour set at the intimate Soup Kitchen in Manchester.
Date published: 6th Mar 2017
Dan Snaith PhD rose to worldwide acclaim as Caribou with his 2010 album Swim, an overnight success which was 10 years in the making. The darling of the so-called “blog-house” scene, his singular approach to production and live band performance led him to become a leader and champion of UK electronic music, and under his Daphni moniker he's explored his love of club music past and present, becoming a renowned DJ in the process.
As such the opportunity to hear him DJ at a venue as intimate as the Soup Kitchen, as opposed to a warehouse or festival stage, drew huge interest, selling out in minutes. We joined the crowd for his mammoth 4-hour set.
This young Thursday night crowd was fired up from the start, and after a short hip-hop and UK dancehall intro he got straight into the grooves. As a DJ he moved deftly between the myriad styles that influence his productions, be it early techno or UK garage, kwaito or afrobeat.
As much a curator as a DJ, the knowledgeable crowd lapped up the style and tonal changes, keeping the intimate atmosphere electric from the start. Daphni managed to keep such a board range of genres in check because he chose tracks which had a consistent thinking behind them, a philosophy that has also guided his best productions; light instrumentation, with just enough parts to carry the groove forward. Unafraid of dynamics and tempo shifts, he let the main parts speak for themselves, be they rich monosynths, world music vocals or soul samples.
This sparseness let each moment shine, and scattered throughout the set were some of Snaith's best productions, be it 'Bowls' or 'Sun', which lead to some of the most frenzied pogo-ing we've seen on a Thursday at 2AM in a long time.
As the set pushed further into the night he brought the texture and tempo into more main-room territory, moving at ease between rich techno, breaks and African styles. The crowd pushed on through the night with him, happy for him to continue to take them down left turns. Ending out with Marlena Shaw's 'California Soul' followed by his own 'Yes I Know', Snaith continued to show that the unashamedly intellectual can still connect with the feet and heart.