Teen Daze – Interior: Ambient music you can dance to

Canadian producer Jamison Isaak channels huge influence of French dance music

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Artist: Teen Daze
Genre: Electronic
Label: Cascine

French electronica has a lot to answer for. Daft Punk's retirement announcement last February after nearly three decades of crafting club and pop anthems became one of the biggest music stories of 2021. Jean Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier,  Étienne de Crécy, DJ Falcon, Justice, Phoenix, M83, Air and Cassius all also hail from our nearest EU neighbour.

Teen Daze is the musical alias for Canadian electronic artist Jamison Isaak, who became obsessed with music videos by these artists when he was a teenager. Isaak is also inspired by house, glitch, ambient, indie pop and whatever you're having yourself. Since 2010, he has putting out regular releases and garnering attention from the likes of Pitchfork.

Interior, which Isaak describes as “an album of first loves refracted through prisms of wisdom, wounds and wonder”, is a slick and silky-smooth distillation of his sound. The lead single Swimming is a hypnotic slice of gentle ambient house over a propulsive glitch-style beat.

Sweet spot

For the most part, Interior glides by pleasantly at a comfortingly steady pace. This is not a collection of dancefloor bangers or another elongated ambient odyssey, but inhabiting a sweet spot somewhere in between. Isaak himself quite accurately describes it as ambient music you can dance to.

Interior also features elements of chillwave, a preposterously monikered music micro-genre that emerged in the late 2000s emulating 1980s electropop and designed to deliberately evoke nostalgic feelings. Teen Daze's 2015 album, Morning World, was produced by John Vanderslice (who was responsible for a controversial track entitled Bill Gates Must Die) and featured more indie pop sensibilities and Isaak's own vocals. This puts him up there alongside David Holmes and the late Andy Weatherall as DJs and producers who became confident enough to sing in their own voice.

International hubs

Speaking of vocals, Montreal electropop artist Cecile Believe (formerly known as Mozart’s Sister) pops up on the breezy 2am (Real Love). To date, Teen Daze’s profile has mainly been confined to the North American and Canadian side of the Atlantic with some sporadic appearances in major international dance music hubs such as Berlin, Tokyo and London. It remains to be seen if this highly prolific artist, who has released no fewer than 10 albums and scores of EPs, starts to resonate with a global audience.

Interior doesn’t reinvent the wheel or match the inventive heights of the aforementioned Gallic giants, although it drives itself well, offering a home-listening-orientated experience that harks back to better times and sunnier climes in a bleak midwinter.