The internet is a curious place sometimes. In fall of last year, several tracks began to make the rounds under the guise of one Ifan Dafydd. The hazy organ sounds and warped Amy Winehouse vocal samples on “No Good” led to much speculation that this was none other than James Blake working under a new moniker. Alas this is not the case, though recent revelations make the similarities make sense. Dafydd is a friend and one time roommate of Blake’s, so it’s more forgivable perhaps that much of this style seems ripped from the work of Blake’s earlier EPs.
This new 7” feature the titular “Treehouse” a moody piece of Blake-ian post-dubstep foreshadowed by those tracks that floated around throughout the end of 2011. Unlike “No Good” however, this track doesn’t rely on gimmicky samples but succeeds fully under the weight of its own snipped vocals and clattering beats. There’s no four-on-the-floor simplicity to tie this track together, but it’s propulsive nonetheless. Unlike Blake’s tracks, this song doesn’t build and loop around, it moves forward to some conclusion. Where Dafydd is distinct from his most obvious reference point is in his unwillingness to recycle dynamics. Though the same samples pop up throughout the track, Dafydd doesn’t linger. Across its four minutes “Treehouse” doesn’t stop moving forward, and its all the better for it. It’s a unique take on a style that’s relatively familiar.
The b-side, “To Me” while still representative of this forward movement, seems overall a bit less developed than “Treehouse.” Its vocal samples, instead of seeming meticulously placed like on the a side, seem smeared across the track, leading to a more dizzying feeling once it interlocks with the piano pieces than Dafydd likely intended. It’s still an interesting take on the oft homogenous post-dubstep sound, but this sounds more like an outtake to be cast upon Soundcloud than a song appropriate to back such an astounding track as “Treehouse.”