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Tristan Dahn

Tristan Dahn is a Philadelphia, PA based multi-instrumentalist and improvisor. His debut LP, Housekeeping, is “a work of stylistic distinctiveness and uncanny emotional resonance.”


“I wanted to avoid sentimentality and instead engage with the strangeness and unpredictability of grief. I didn’t want to make a ‘sad’ album; I wanted to make something more difficult to pin down, the way that grief itself is. Small bits of levity and humor felt essential to this as well, which I hope comes across.”
-Tristan Dahn

Housekeeping is an extraordinary example of making lemonade out of lemons. During the peak of COVID lockdown in the summer of 2020 and shortly after his mother succumbed to cancer, Philadelphia-based multi-instrumentalist Tristan Dahn decamped to Cazenovia, a rural town near Syracuse, New York, to sort through his late parent’s house, where he and his brother spent their formative years as children.

Dealing with the profound grief of losing a parent, Dahn used the instruments and objects he and his brother had left in the home over the years to create this singular LP.

Housekeeping reflects Dahn’s irrepressible resourcefulness. Many of the guitars at his disposal were cheap and in disrepair; a ukulele had but three strings and broken headstock; the drum kit was cast off from a high-school music department, and it lacked a snare and a pedal for the kick-drum, so he played the latter like a tom; various Casio keyboards and an out-of-tune piano had to be MacGyvered into usefulness; a bodhran, a gift bought in Ireland by Mrs. Dahn, was in good working order, however. Tin flutes, harmonicas, a maraca, bells, wind chimes, a toy accordion, and household objects provided other sound sources.

“I was very interested in capturing the sounds of the house,” Dahn says, “so I would set up to record in areas that would add texture, such as near the hot water heater or in the stairwell, which has an odd spring-like reverberation to it. And I obsessively recorded the sounds of the house and the environs with a Zoom H4N, which were edited in place while I mixed the album.” The result is a work of stylistic distinctiveness and uncanny emotional resonance. If you think there is nothing new to be done with rock music, Dahn proves your assumption wrong on Housekeeping.
-Dave Segal

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