A New York Times review of Chinese writer Can Xue’s work asserted that reading the author’s fiction is like “running downhill in the dark; you’ve got momentum, but you don’t know where you’re headed.” Such a sentiment could be said of Vanessa Daou’s newest work; much of her recent explorations with club culture incite the chancy, dangerous thrill of experiment. Daou has already made a name for herself with her astonishing mix of spoken word and electronic beats on her six previous albums. Her voice, an eerie, peculiar sigh which brings a yielding and sensual warmth to her sultry grooves, is equally noted for its unbridled femininity.
Not exactly an official single, “One Thing I’m Missing” is a taster for Daou’s upcoming release, Light, Sweet, Crude, an album that will delve into the further reaches of hip-hop and electronica after the heavily jazz-leaning offering of 2008’s Joe Sent Me. “One Thing I’m Missing” still trades on the downbeat tempos of her last album but fully engages in the atmospherics of digital paranoia, with icy sheets of synths layered upon a druggy, languid groove. Daou’s vocal, a strange, twisted call resounding from some Promethean netherworld, is essentially the hinge of which producer André Baum builds his rhythms upon, the cadence of his groove flowing with the awkward, elegant grace of a frozen river thawing. Sinuous, ghostly and poetic, this number heralds a return to Daou’s previous flirtations with DJ culture.