Track Review: Hannah Slavin: Daydream

‘Filled with dreamy musicality, it’s a beautifully captivating debut.’

Intro to Hannah:
There is every chance that you will not have heard of Hannah Slavin, but, if, like me, you watched BBC One’s
TV series ‘Pitch Battle,’ you will have seen her perform as part the winning ensemble: Leeds Contemporary Singers. However, while that series was a fantastic platform for showcasing the best vocal groups, it has also provided a platform for Hannah to embark on her own musical journey. Now, only a few months after the win, Hannah has signed to Her Music PR and in working with producer George Platt, has released the perfect introduction to
her solo career.

Featured Track: Daydream
Formed of atmospheric ambient samples, the introduction to ‘Daydream’ is one that you immediately become absorbed in. Gently panning and swelling, they effortlessly wash you with beautiful musicality and paired with, a more prominent, but equally beautiful, jazz influenced piano chord sequence, it becomes aptly dreamlike. At only a few seconds in, it’s already a gorgeous track and as Hannah’s voice enters, it becomes even more so.

Sitting on top of the established ambient style accompaniment, Hannah’s vocal begins telling us a relatable story. Focused around the idea of ‘love lost’ and its associated feelings, the opening lyrics of ‘Ain’t it funny how it worked out?’ set us off in a highly reflective manner. However, while this is a topic open to powerful settings, the assertive, yet delicate nature of Hannah’s vocal blends perfectly with the underlying textures, bringing a relaxed soulful edge. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and combined with prominent drum patterns and gently oscillating layers, the track develops a true RnB sound.

Having gradually developed throughout the verse, the overlapping textures guide us seamlessly into the pre-chorus. Here, more delicate instrumental touches dance above the ambient ones, bringing perfect musical reflection to the honesty filled lyrics of ‘I guess I was only a daydream.’ However, as you become enveloped in the ever-increasingly gorgeous sound, you find yourself questioning if what you are hearing is actually a debut track. Of course it is, but it sounds like it belongs on an EP, or indeed an album of an established artist.

Pushing this sensation further, the main part of the chorus and the post-chorus bring even more musically magical moments. Comprised of a vast array of samples, it’s a sound that should feel cluttered, disorganised even. Thankfully though, it feels the complete opposite and as greater depth is brought to the track both musically – through sampled bass synths – and lyrically through the recurring lyrics of ‘Do you ever think of me?’ you become completely captivated. However, while the self-reflective lyrics remain centred on the topic of choice, the effortlessly catchy syllable based vocal in the post-chorus ensures there is also a more carefree edge.

Continuing to move toward the mid-point of the track, the second verse sees the earlier piano chords shift to be lower in the mix. Giving greater prominence to the more textural elements of the accompaniment, new, distortion affect samples add to the already multi-layered accompaniment. However, while these continue to swirl around you, fragmented versions of the earlier piano lines cut through at times, providing delicate guidance into the latter parts of the track.

Here, on reaching the bridge, the style of the track noticeably shifts and a much sparser accompaniment comes to the fore. Mostly built on a combination of the earlier chord sequence, and a more distant sounding version of the drum pattern, it’s an unexpected change of mood. However, like the change in atmosphere of the accompanying features, the lyrical content – and indeed the delivery of it – moves from laid back, self-reflectiveness to expressing thoughts and feelings to the past love. It’s a wonderful moment and one that adds another layer of honesty to the track.

However, having lyrically moved through themes of people wanting different things, on reaching the concluding line of ‘I’ve been wondering if you ever think of me?’ Hannah’s vocal soars to new heights and modulates bringing a musical lift to the track. In doing so, we are beautifully led to an ending where echoing, improvisatory synth melodies and recurring multi-tracked lyrics give us a final helping of dreamy musicality.

Follow Hannah Slavin on: Twitter.
Listen to Hannah Slavin’s music on: Spotify
Find out more about Hannah Slavin’s music at: Behind the Music: Interview with Hannah Slavin and Album Review: Sixteen Records: Volume One

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