Best Vancouver Albums of 2014

dada plan

Dada Plan – A Dada Plan is Free
Kingfisher Bluez
Listen: “Human Language”

Malcolm Biddle, musician and producer with a nose for hospitality, is back with his latest project, Dada Plan. The quintet’s debut album, A Dada Plan is Free, brims with swirling electronic textures into which his syrupy voice dissolves. The band’s name, which combines the terms “Dadaism” and the generally absurd modern idea of “data plans,” contains unsurprising heft: Biddle muses about navigating the increasingly technological, simultaneously connected yet disconnected world without leading to its ultimate destruction.

Moments of levity come on the contemplative “Breathe Again”, the ascension-like “Bury Me Low”, and the meditative, dreamy opener, “Mr. Window”. These tracks are, however, ballasted by congas and urgent (though undeniably groovy) songs including “Vague Mystical” and “Who’s the Thief???”. “Over When You Die” casts a bleak mood early in the album, with slithering digital effects and delicate guitars, as does the spooky “The Hanging Mirrors of Life-Skype”. The crowning moment on A Dada Plan is Free is a cover of L.A. rapper Aceyalone’s “Human Language”; his words sound even more like free-verse flying out of Biddle’s mouth, unrestrained like the squealing saxophones, jungly bass, and interstellar keys that slink and wind around Biddle’s voice.

Futuristically cold yet warmly human, Dada Plan’s social commentary about living in the digital age, embedded in a mix of jazz, psychedelia, and poetic rhythm, is as entrancing and engaging as it is unique.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu