Best Music Spotlight

David John Brady: Empirical

Photograph of the blog post author, Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson


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Drawing on ideas of electronic ambient and house, David John Brady brings us ‘Empirical’, a theatrical step into contemporary ambient production and the digital form of music.


A slow developing fade in introduces us to a strong motif of just-slightly melancholic chord tones sitting at the forefront of the mix. Electronic pianos and distant slow attacks peel away to build a bed of deteriorating harmony below this euro-pop style progression. Developing still to include contrapuntal vocal play bouncing between the left and right, the stereo field starts to swell with an encompassing crescendo of volume.

Punching kicks and ringing metallic hits aggressively, but non-suggestively, carry us between intervals of dynamic variation. Sparse and open moments where effected vocals ring out in post-rock inspired harmony (see Mogwai’s piano work) litter the piece. This serves to provide artistic respite from the consistent filling of space on all sides. Fading in from left and right, almost sporadically, repeated phrases and melodies appear and disperse, layering themselves over and between the varied instrumentation.

A soft yet prominent bassline enters and leaves periodically, serving as a grounding element of the piece. It’s portamento-heavy voice creates a smooth, almost vocal, presence with an air of deliberation, offsetting the unabashed presence of chordal harmony present in all other areas of the track.

Extensive use of fading tones and echoed melodies appropriately reinforces the esoteric imagery delivered by the haunting vocals, ‘…my mind is the sky…my thoughts are the clouds’. This heady lyrical content only enhances the implied solemnity and earnest of the work.

Empirical uses constant rhythmic, and almost percussive, chord voicings to instil and reinforce the cinematic, modern-futuristic aesthetic. This is emphasised further in slightly pulled driving kick drum and noisy snare combination, akin to the percussive sequencing typical of synthwave, with less drastic side chaining. Reminiscent of a contemporary digestion of French house trends in the early 2000s.

  • Overall rating: 8/10
  • Pairs well with: Tomorrow’s Harvest Boards of Canada

About David John Brady

From Leeds, UK, David brings us his music, inspired by the sounds of nature, science, the written word, and human condition. Intending to show a blur of his influences from classical piano, music production and engineering, he wields his background as a creative tool of artistic outputs.

Stream ‘Empirical’ on Spotify:


Follow David John Brady on:

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