Isolated from his infant son and restricted from making art during the global upheaval of 2020, Dan Whitehouse took solace in connectivity through digital space. A snatched zoom call, a message on instagram, a late flurry of lovelorn emojis.
“I had an epiphany,” says Dan. “Screens are okay! We should embrace them. They’re magical, really. A portal to our loved ones, in our pockets, at all times.”
A portal to our loved ones
Dan reflected on how much of our human experience and expression is now mediated through the looking glass of virtual communication, and crafted a delicate suite of songs to soundtrack his musings.
Fittingly, for the subject matter, Dan recorded The Glass Age remotely, shuttling stems back and forth with Swedish electronica whizkid Gustaf Ljunggren. Their online collaboration bore fruit last summer, in the shape of glacial masterpiece The Glass Age.
Now, in the spirit of life returning to normal, Dan is re-releasing the songs from The Glass Age in acoustic form. Reflections From The Glass Age – an acoustic sequel – presents the same songs stripped-back, in emotional and vulnerable performances captured live in Copenhagen when the pair were finally able to meet IRL.
“These new versions of the songs evolved so organically,” said Dan. “They began life in hibernation, and were recorded and produced remotely. Now, stepping out from behind the glass, I’ve been able to breathe new life into them.”
Campfire kicks off with the immortal couplet “When you change the way you look at things / The things you look at start to change”. Rainbows Never End is an emotive tear-jerker about Dan’s little boy. The Thin Blue Line uses a searing metaphor about explorers trapped under Antarctic permafrost to evoke icy long-distance longing.
No longer limited to the digital realm, Dan is relieved to be out and about again.
“I think we need to acknowledge the value and validity of both. Face-to-face hugs, holding hands, a sunrise waltz – or a digital wave with a daft doggy-ear filter on. The tears behind the screen are just as real.”
Learning how to thrive under a new paradigm, and harnessing newfound techniques to focus on self-care and embracing his inner artist, Dan Whitehouse is today an artist at the very peak of his powers.
And happily, at the time of writing, he is in Japan enjoying time with his boy.
Check out Dan’s live gigs, kicking off in Dartington, Devon on April 20
top image: IMAGE: u/limblesslizard ORIGINAL IMAGE: Peter James Millson
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