David Daniell

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  • United States

Artist Biography

David Daniell is an American experimental guitarist and sound artist originally from south Georgia and now residing in Chicago. Over the past decade he has been slowly but surely edging closer to his current sound. From his haunting improvised blues-drone guitar work with San Agustin through the shimmering electro-acoustic landscapes of his first solo release (2002's Sem) on to the multi-layered, emotive guitar constructions of his live performances and releases of the last several years, Daniell has combined a unique style of mercurial guitar playing with a sense of classic ambient and electronic influences to arrive at a singular sound-world in which John Fahey, Terry Riley, and Brian Eno share an orbit.

Alongside his extensive history of solo performance and nearly fifteen years as a member of San Agustin, Daniell has worked with a Who's Who of today's most progressive musicians - Loren Connors, Rhys Chatham, Tim Barnes, Jeph Jerman, Thurston Moore, Sean Meehan, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Tomas Korber, Ateleia, Greg Davis, Jonathan Kane, and others. Current active collaborations include a duo with Douglas McCombs (Brokeback, Tortoise), a trio with Christian Fennesz and Tony Buck (The Necks), and the quartet Apiary with Steven Hess (Pan American, Haptic, On), Jason Stein (Locksmith Isidore), and Joseph Clayton Mills (Haptic). He has recorded for several prominent labels including Thrill Jockey, Table of the Elements, and his own Antiopic imprint.

At the core of Daniell's music the buzzing of electric and acoustic strings dissolves into nebulous clouds of tone while thick drones constantly evolve to create hypnotic strobes of fluttering patterns; a finger-picked guitar motif springs to life, its spindly melody tethering the percolating soundscape to Earth. This music is intense and inviting, drawing on the rich traditions of American minimalism, blues guitar, and abstract electronic music, but with a focused eye to the future. Daniell is able to reference familiar structures and genres with no sense of pastiche, reaching out for entirely new forms. What results is an extremely unique take on guitar-based minimalism. David Daniell is currently exploring one of the most idiosyncratic paths in experimental guitar playing and abstract electronic composition.

Selected Press

With his slow-moving, understated music, David Daniell makes a fine spokesman for the notion that anything worth doing is worth doing for a long, long time. Whether he's contributing moody strums and sculpted E-Bow drones to the guitar trio San Agustin or stringing computer-generated pings and bumps across gulfs of silence on Sem, his solo debut on his own Antiopic label, he develops his material patiently, the better to let you observe the sounds from every angle.

Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader