Douglas Dare bares all for Aforger

aforgerDouglas Dares new album came from an important place: “Prior to writing the record, I came out to my father and came out of a long relationship. both were hugely challenging for me.”

Drawing inspiration from Orwellian literature, Björk and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, Douglas Dare’s sophomore album Aforger takes us on a haunting trip and a frightfully honest flow of thought.

Aforger plays with the idea of being - unsurprisingly - a forger, or someone creating imitations or copies and reimagines them as the creator of something that’s no longer real. The album itself is anything but a forgery, and more of an electronic confessional, full of fascinating critiques and concepts.

The album takes you into the mind of one of the most exciting singer songwriters in the UK at the moment. There are some big steps away from Dare's past album Whelm, but not without entirely losing the delicate, piano driven landscapes of sound that last won the critics over.

Opening track “Doublethink” is based on the Orwellian concept of the same name. After discovering that his boyfriend had been living a double life, the track treads the concepts of ignorance being bliss. It’s the perfect introduction to the musical transition that Douglas Dare took in the run up to this album being recorded. Though piano is clearly Dare’s weapon of choice, there are now layers of electronics, and at time, wind instruments and guitars. His music is always arranged in such a way that throws you into whatever mood he wants you to feel. The musician's voice, is always adds to the emotion by being just as captivating and emotional.

Tracks like “Greenhouse” have a rather experimental pop feel and doesn’t feature any regular piano. It also has a rather metallic clang, while tracks such as “Thinking of Him” have a more retro psychedelic influence.

“Oh Father” is described by the artist as a song of “complete ambiguity." It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where this song is headed as it takes you on a stormy journey of a hope for acceptance - and why not be a beautiful, well written song at the same time? As cliched as it may sound, it’s important artists vocalise their issues with sexuality: we still live in a world where people are vilified for their sexuality.

Elsewhere “New York” discusses the idea of being let down by somewhere that you had romanticised in your head - not knowing what to believe anymore. In part it's comparable again to Björk, and her collaborator Arca’s trademark synth. Alternately, “Binary” relies heavily on an 8bit synth. The track explores the notion of living your life online, and how when we die, we will live on through our digital self. This is also explored in the Second Season of Black Mirror, in which a woman orders a robotic version of her husband, who passed away and manages to imitate his life with the information he gave by phone and computer. The song builds into electronic euphoria and ending on a contrasting note with a beautiful, angelic chorus and mesmerising piano.

Aforger is a well developed album and its strong ideas translate perfectly to song. Douglas Dare has made truly beautiful music from inner turmoil and cultural analysis. It has all the qualities to be considered one of the most moving albums of the year.

Release: 14th October 2016, Erased Tapes

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