The essence of Dayve Hawk’s music as Memory Tapes is the exploration of dance music as a medium more experimental than pop melodies and programmed beats. With his third album, Grace/Confusion, Hawk builds on this mission to craft his most ambitious album to date. “I’ve always explained Memory Tapes as pop music as field recordings.” says Hawk about Grace/Confusion. “I decided to showcase a kind of chaotic reaching. I don’t think the record is flat-out shooting in all directions though, because I kept trying to reign it in as much as I embraced it. That’s why I called it Grace/Confusion.” Hawk’s third release channels this chaos in his multifaceted pop music, dipping into disco and krautrock sounds while playing with traditional song structure to craft extended mixes.
With six tracks clocking in at over 39 minutes, Grace/Confusion is a rewarding change of pace for Memory Tapes, the length freeing Hawk to abandon dance music tropes and weave together songs from fragmented hooks, snatches of melodies and bombasts of instrumentals. “Discarding any ideas about genre, format or even song structure didn’t feel like a liberation though, more like a maze to get lost in,” Hawk says. Out of this confusion came Memory Tapes’ most inventive tracks to date, from the melancholy love story of “Sheila,” told over alternating suites of dark synths and distorted guitars, to the dramatic coda of “Neighborhood Watch.” Lush production adds a dimension of depth to Grace/Confusion’s comprehensive sound, drawing from space rock and classic electro in its experimental rendering of pop music.
With all the album’s intricacies and vision,Grace/Confusion inhabits more the title’s first word than the last, showcasing an artist embracing his idiosyncrasies and constructing beauty from chaos.