dné – Basic Living

Neo-ambient electronics in search of contentment...

dné’s latest album ‘Basic Living’ elegantly fits into any setting, relaxing you into your environment with the feeling of home at the forefront.

“I like the idea of reclaiming the term ‘basic’.” – dné

Prague based electronic artist dné (d-neh) AKA Ondřej Holý drops his second album ‘Basic Living’ with an 8 track ambient project. dné first unleashed music to the world back in 2009 with his EP ‘Talking With Crayon’s’. A notably different experience, ‘Basic Living’ sits with you as a colourful exploration of the meaning of contentment and home. 

‘Basic Living’ is a fusion of tight production and experimental foley. Known for using sounds that are extracted from his surroundings, dné took to field recording for this album, using found sound to creatively accompany his clean production. Kicks are tentative, snares are soft and the overall audio is an immersive musical experience that is powerful and engrossing. 

Etherial, vintage synth pads add an organic tone throughout the album, particularly in lead single ‘Traps In My Feed’, a song about deviating away from technology in order to create. It’s rare to find a producer willing to detach from the comfort of a digital synth. Like how a good book tends to feel better than a kindle, a painting better in real life than on screen, his music is real, tangible and something you can relate to.

‘Entertainment’ extrapolates the feelings of unrequited love by cutting samples into sequences seamlessly and the organic beats that accompany this track alongside lo-fi undertones muffle the pallet. The album’s vocals are a melancholic gliding gracefully on top of his production; absorbing the listener into a duvet day they didn’t even know they were having.

There is an array of added instruments throughout that only contribute to that soft feeling. Closing track ‘Illnesses are Dumb’ is a pure guitar track that provides a raw emotion to the album. Stating “I have muscular dystrophy, I’m currently happily living by myself but I am losing my self-sufficiency” it’s clear that ‘Basic Living’ exposes Holý in a more personal way than before. 

‘Basic Living’ is an album about finding contentment. Home is comfort. Its sitting around watching YouTube videos on your laptop till 4am. It’s appreciating nature in the moment, or sitting in sun with your morning coffee. It’s the dip of being dumped and the high of being loved. Layered with an emotional message, dné’s uses music to simply say “life’s okay”.


Words: Isabel Armitage
Photo Credit: Tomáš Carl Allen

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