Doc Daneeka & Abigail Wyles, Tobyjug

[Ten Thousand Yen]

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Whether in smoky chanteuse mode or swathed in and masked by effects, Abigail Wyles provided the rawest moments of Doc Daneeka and Benjamin Damage’s recent album, They!Live. Tobyjug marks the birth of a separate Daneeka/Wyles project, an electronic soul ballad that looks to be ushering the singer further towards the type of producer/performer collaborations that brought Jessie Ware and Fatima to wider attention. It’s a classy first outing, if not a little muted, with Wyles’ jazz-influenced tones providing both the narrative and rhythmic threads, while the piano and bass notes fall steadfastly on the downbeat.

Daneeka’s rhythm-monster tendencies are pared back and parceled up into minimalistic pulses and skitters at the outset, but by the second verse, both have begun to inhabit all the space that surrounds them, as Wyles’ cut-glass clarity becomes more impassioned and Daneeka’s subtle effects begin to simmer. For such a stylized debut, Daneeka has made a clever choice of drafting in Lando Kal on remix duty, as he has no such need for kid gloves within his signature multi-referencing sound. In his hands, the track becomes a typically rich and busy patchwork; full words are roughly shorn off and reshuffled in UKG fashion. Starting from a po-faced techno rhythm, it’s woven with off-beat handclaps and wheezy keyboards, and shaded with leering groans. It’s virtually unrecognizable, but provides a seasoned rework for a project that is just about to ripen.

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