There comes a time where a record you’ve been waiting for exceeds your expectations; that rare moment where an artist you’ve admired reveals a different side and blows your mind. Palm Springs California’s Dj Day has managed to produce such an album with the sumptuous Land of a 1000 Chances released on artist co-op label Piecelock 70
The packaging gets you right off the bat: a gorgeous leather casebound LP with a polaroid of a rather incongruous situation. The flip is a snapshot of Day’s travels and daily life that could also serve as an accurate description of the music itself. Indeed, this is a profoundly personal album with a stripped down approach that is a drastic departure from Dj Day’s usually lush and layered soundscapes. From the opening track (VQ) the stage is set : the vocal sample announces music that is ‘from the desert…it’s heavy…it’s got joy and melancholy’ ; sentiments that echo throughout the journey the record takes you on. I’ve rarely listened to an instrumental album that is so chohesive from both a thematic and musical arc perespective. Most of the songs remain very sparse and ephemeral while being uptempo and groovy. Basically, you could blast this LP during a snowstorm or a cruise to the beach and it would fit the mood.
Day got some serious session musicians together to add depth to his samples and breakbeats and he even lays down some vocals (Daddy’s Home) while leaving the mixing and production to labelmate Thes One (of P.U.T.S fame) and finally having the whole thing mastered and cut by legendary Bernie Grundman Mastering of Hollywood. (Steely Dan’s Aja, Prince’s Purple Rain and MJ’s Thriller, no biggie) Needless to say sonically stunning is an understatement. But it’s more than the sounds (with influences ranging from desert psychrock to boogie) that make the record, it’s the profoundness of each song. For loop-based, sample-driven music, there is a captivating progression that permeates the song structure. Rather than going into a song for song description, I would simply state that if you love honest, soulful music you should support this record and you will not be disapointed. It’s already gaining worlwide recognition with a nod from Gilles Peterson
For me techinicality makes a great musician, but personal expression makes a great artist and with his most complex and mature release yet Dj Day has definitely entered that category. In his own words, this record was about laying all that was going on in his life on wax and producing something raw and timeless. Listening to this LP has certainly helped me through some tough times and made me crack a smile and gain some focus. Indeed, life may give you a 1000 chances but don’t hesitate to grab one of the 1000 copies of this incredible LP before it’s too late.