Listening to Dan Deacon, you might not guess that he’s a classically trained composer. His electronic tracks have the juvenile energy of a toddler at a keyboard. To be more generous, they have the ebullience of an aural Jackson Pollack: both messy and captivating. And one of his videos is rumoured to be a recording of someone on LSD locked in a closet.
Underneath, however, there’s a method to Deacon’s madness. His music has a thrilling build-up, like Cut Copy, and an eclectic range, reminiscent of Animal Collective. Whereas his 2007 album, Spiderman of the Rings, was composed entirely of electronic sounds, his most recent album, the deeper, more sophisticated and more layered Bromst, incorporates real instrumentals including a marimba, glockenspiel and vibraphone.
Deacon likes to emphasise the importance of community – and you can hear it. So much live electronic music seems to emanate from the stage downwards, washing over the crowd like waves, but Deacon’s tunes draw listeners into a sense of close collective frenzy, like friends at a fun party. Accordingly, he performs at floor level, working off a table, surrounded by the crowd. He’s a fan of call and repeat, and he’s a champion of musical collaboration, playing with such diverse bands as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Future Islands, John Maus and Deerhunter.
Much like his beats, Deacon himself is playful, experimental and a little surreal. He’s been known to dance around in a tiger-suit (just check out his video to Woof Woof at bit.ly/xlVyvG) and he’s recognisable as much for his signature goofy big red glasses as he is for his crazy live shows. What you’ll need to remind yourself, if you check him out at XXX, is that yes, underneath all of this, there’s apparently much method to his merry madness.
Dan Deacon plays XXX on Saturday January 21. Tickets at the door.