Twinkling synths, mellowed out boom-bap beats, and classic chillwave: These are the sounds that Daniel Babai’s project Dephrase utilizes to remember his late mother.
Releasing new EP Linda this week (January 19), Babai’s new mini beat tape places its focus on memorializing his relationship with his mom in the wake of her passing last July.
“These are five songs I’ve worked on over the last few years reflecting on her condition and journey, and made them as an exercise to cope with the grief and depression that comes with dealing with the loss of a family member,” he tells Vanyaland. “After she passed I revisited these songs in an effort to combine them into a cohesive body of work.”
In this same way that a photo album documents family memories dating back decades, Linda hits rewind on aural fragments from Babai’s life, interpolating his hazy rhythms with a special kind of intimacy.
“’Back Then’ is filled with sounds voicemails my mom and I left each other, from my childhood to as recently as a couple of years ago,” he explains. “‘…But Please Don’t Go’ has clips of my sister, niece, and nephew playing in the same room as my mom during the only time I actually recorded everyone hanging out together.”
As Babai’s 11-minute musical memento enters its final phase on “Flowers,” Linda culminates with some of the tape’s only lyrics: “You can buy me flowers/But you can’t make up for lost time.” In other words – when it comes to prioritizing time with loved ones, you can always hustle harder later.
“When I writing these songs, I thought a lot about the passage of time, and how it’s really easy to take the time we have with loved ones for granted,” he adds. “[On ‘Flowers’] I’m addressing the concept that there’s no greater gift to give someone you love than time spent with them, and material items don’t make up for absence. It’s really easy to get caught up in the grind/rat race, but there’s always time for your work, and never enough time for loved ones.”