Daniel Wang – Idealism 2005 (Environ/Stomp)


Daniel Wang

New York DJ and producer Wang originally released Idealism in 2001. The album helped catalyse the nascent electroclash scene and spurred label boss Morgan Geist (and cohort Darshan Jesrani) to discard his “difficult’s electro and kick off the Italo-loving of Metro Area.

Wang’ debut kicks off with a vocodered voice inviting you to consider a trip to Mars. It’s the right introduction for an album that on first release felt entirely retro and completely next week too. There are no samples, but the xylophone-like sound of the kalimba lights up the rhythms. The African instrument, made from old spoon handles and bicyle spokes, and the warm glow of a Theremin, give the album the curious whimsy of “50s exotica. But combined with the sharp production aesthetic of Detroit techno and Italo disco and the jaunt of soul jazz, it translates to an album with the charm of Dimitri from Paris at his best, without the kitsch.

Wang was never happy with the record and deleted it soon after. But it developed a life of its own, and facing heavy demand got a limited single-run reissue with a few additions and updates. How does it hold up four years down the track? Very well, actually. Unlike Metro Area, Wang’ rich reverberant sound and light-handed palette reward repeated listens.

Daniel Wang – Pistol Oderso (hosted by Epitonic)

Matthew Levinson