Seven Davis Jr.’s introduces a spiritual element to his new ‘Dancing on the Sun’ EP
The genre of electronic music has become one of the most rapidly changing landscapes of the past decade. To survive such a wavering wilderness, one needs to be equally dynamic and versatile. With many varying flavours and styles in his arsenal, Houston born LA based producer Seven Davis Jr. proves to be the Bear Grylls of the modern electronic rain-forest. With his blend of deep house, funk, jazz, and hip-hop, Seven Davis Jr.’s back catalogue provides the perfect soundtrack to any pool party or Summer BBQ.
Anyone familiar with Seven’s previous work will rave of how his musical style pays tribute to the likes of Prince, George Clinton and Stevie Wonder whilst delivering his own distinctive twist. This former hip-hop ghost-writer has started to make a name for himself by producing truly original house music with such kinetic sound. After yester-year’s joyful and highly optimistic album ‘Universes’ was met with largely positive reception, Seven offers his follow-up EP ‘Dancing On The Sun’.
One may argue that this marks a real shift in paradigm for Seven. What becomes immediately clear is that ‘Dancing On the Sun’ is Seven’s most spiritual instalment to date; an all in all surprising revelation considering that the better part of his previous work rarely went beyond parties and good times. With the shamanic lyrical mantra of the title track combined with the Buddhist/Taoist album artwork, you get an overall impression that Seven is yearning to tap into a higher meaning in his music.
This is most evident on the track ‘Church’ with the lyrics sung by the one-time gospel singer in his smooth Gil-Scott Heron-esque voice: “Where did the love go? What happened to the soul? Where did it go? Somethin’ wrong with it, need to take it back to church.”
Seven has often voiced his disillusionment with night-life culture in his homeland; stating that he refuses to play gigs in the US because of people just standing around, posing all night. ‘Church’ implies a yearning for a much simpler time, a time when clubs didn’t resemble packed dungeons or some thumping, sweaty, meat market. A time when they were places of joy and love, where all races and creeds united under a simple autonomous religion: music.
While ‘Dancing On the Sun’ does indeed allude to a more sonorous aesthetic and seeks to emote much more heavily than Seven’s previous brand of deep-house funk; it is not without its drawbacks. The title track on the EP features an utterly unbearable sample; for this alone it’s worth a listen, particularly if you are someone with a macabre interest in mental self-harm. They talk of songs being a club banger and this track is exactly that; but lacks any kind of real substance. However, the track is slightly improved later in the album in several remixed versions, one titled ‘See The Light’ and a bonus track featuring actress/poet Yazmin Monét Watkins.
Evidently taking inspiration from the likes of Flying Lotus, ‘Dancing On The Sun’ is distinctly more psychedelic than Seven’s previous work. It feels like an attempt by Seven to be more cerebral and introspective, but ‘Dancing on the Sun’ never truly achieves this. With extremely repetitive loops in full effect and bass heavy beats, this EP is clearly meant to be played in the kind of environment more concerned with rudimentary musical elements; i.e. the clubs.
‘Dancing On The Sun’ by Seven Davis Jr. is available now via Ninja Tune.
This Seven Davis Jr. article was written by Kevin Browne, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.