Premiere: DAVE – DEMO TAPE (ANTI FADE RECORDS, 2019)

Words: James Frostick

Only a few months on from Hierophants’ heralded LP Spitting Out Moonlight, guitarist Daff Gravolin is showing off some solo creative chops with a demo tape filled with catchy retro-future jams. Operating here under the mononym Dave, Daff dips a toe in the psychedelic synth sounds of generations past, playfully putting his own spin on things through various recording styles and sonic moods. 

Based solely his work in Hierophants, ORB, Cereal Killer and The Frowning Clouds, one can assume Daff Gravolin has a strong penchant for musical styles and sounds from yesteryear. A fair cop or not, between Hierophants’ wigged-out oddball pop, ORB’s driving proto-metal stoner blitz to The Frowning Clouds’ technicolour psych grooves, we know for a fact that Daff has a deep catalogue of musical history to draw upon at any given time. For his solo project Dave (specifically this demo tape that we’re giving a spin), Daff exhibits a sizeable cross-section of influences and creative proficiency, weaving various threads into a vivid work.

Dave’s demo tape is a love letter to science-fiction, 60s psych and early synth experimentation. The 14-track release is more of an odyssey into a universe of Dave’s own creation – a realm where celestial objects orbit aimlessly amidst a scattering of glittering stellar constellations. Across the tape’s duration, Dave’s starship dives in and out hyperreality, blending ambient synthesised noodling with woozy fuzz psych and a splash of loose jazz. Dave is Daff at his most unrestrained – on this tape he is indulging every whim that strikes and documenting it. He weaves in and out of styles and movements and manages to pull off just about everything he attempts. As soon as the opening notes of ‘Move It’ hit, we’re transported to Dave’s world – there’s nought all else to do but settle in and enjoy the ride.

This demo tape is out digitally and physically today through Anti Fade Records, but if you’re in Melbourne and want to grab a physical copy ASAP, Lulu’s is stocking it, too.