On last year’s Universes, Seven Davis Jr explored a particularly funk-driven take on house music with hip-hop influences. Owing as much debt to Prince and James Brown as it did the steady kick-drum pound of club music, it seemed ready-made for crossover success like Four Tet or Hot Chip, yet his name remains only a cult favourite. Dancing On The Sun is a worthy follow-up and promising stop-gap that remains exuberant even when it misfires.
The title track sounds like, well, dancing on the sun. Over a woozy, filtered chord that sounds suspended in space, a rough-cut beat throbs alongside racing percussion like a sweaty mess of self-orbiting rhythm, with breathless gasps bursting like solar flares. Euphoric and scorched, ‘Dancing On The Sun’ seems tailored for both festival hedonism and underground adventurism. It’s followed by ‘See The Light (Dancing On The Sun Remix)’, which uses the same drum groove but swaps a steady kick for a winding bassline, all restless energy and bleary disorientation. The EP’s remaining tracks don’t quite hit the same peaks, but their pursuit of pleasure is similar. ‘Church’ is ecstatic while ‘Spliffs’ is relaxed: the former’s mix of flashing synth melodies, 80’s boogie bassline and breakbeat swagger is uplifting, but the latter is a hip-hop skit that’s unfortunately as shapeless and self-engaged as its weed-referring title suggests.
Dancing On The Sun is brimming with personality. At just over twenty minutes, (the digital release features a bonus version of the title track featuring a few extra vocal samples), this EP holds more ideas than many artists explore in an album, and it’s all done with a sense of playful warmth.