Dani Siciliano: Likes...

Fans of Matthew Herbert's work will be familiar already with Siciliano, her vocals for many years having graced his performances and albums like Around the House and Bodily Functions. Although Likes… is her solo debut, it's no amateur outing but rather a stylistically varied set of eleven tracks that developed over four years, with Dani sampling, sequencing, and writing using a basic studio setup. She fearlessly takes on torch, electropop, jazz, and soul genres, infusing each with subtle electronic touches and her restrained, delicate singing. Likes… opens auspiciously with the nine-minute “Same,” a haunting piece whose murmuring vocal samples loop while vibes and electronic effects establish a moody foundation. It builds gradually with Dani's unadorned lead a languid complement to the denser layers accumulating underneath, the song's controlled evolution a convincing example of Siciliano's artistry. Dani imaginatively renders Kurt Cobain's “Come As You Are” as a jazzy lounge number; here acoustic bass, congas, and Gabriel Olegavich's French Horn conjure a frothy rhythm while Dani coos “Memories” in her sultriest manner. A sexy delivery characterizes “She Say Cliché” and “Red,” while her sensual vocals beguile on “Extra Ordinary,” especially when accompanied by a propulsive bass line and electric piano. She adopts a languid style on the atmospheric “Collaboration (Ready),” a natural prelude to the closer “Remember To Forget” where her weary vocal is backed by orchestral woodwinds, brass, and acoustic bass. In marked contrast to these songs are “Walk The Line,” robotic electropop featuring mechanical, deadpan singing, and “All Thee Above,” a dreamy duet between Dani and Mugison. Here electronics share the dance floor with Herbert's accordion, which pushes the track into Eastern European territory. Aside from her sensual vocalizing, what most distinguishes Likes… is Dani's accomplished handling of contrasting song styles and the mature arrangements. It's a satisfying outing by an artist boldly committed to the unexpected.

March 2004