Chance McDaniel, “Ties” (Photo: Contributed)

Housed within the blips and bloops and synthetic synapses of electronic music is a whole universe of possibilities—given the right set of circumstances and musical aptitude, there is no limit to the sounds that can be constructed and torn down and rebuilt again. And it’s here in this swirling miasma of tone and texture that Chattanooga artist Chance McDaniel finds inspiration and motivation for his ambient and experimental divergences.

But McDaniel doesn’t traffic in meandering rhythms or listless melodies; he develops an emotional resonance that serves as the foundation for his work. Drifting loosely among these downtempo beats and plinking electronics is a pulsing heart, and the echoes from its beat carry for miles. There’s a tendency to think of this kind of music as sterile and without warmth, but McDaniel imbues his songs with an indelible affection, the kind of welcoming overture that allows it to stay rooted in your brain for days.

On his latest release, “Ties,” McDaniel creates a collection of 6 tracks which incorporate vocal samples, electronica patterns, analog instrumentation and a refreshing perspective on the themes of digital nostalgia. Aided by synths, guitars and an indeterminate number of plug-ins, he fashions this EP as a way to reconnect with the emotional side of electronic music. There’s an endless whirlpool of experience to be mined in these synthetic rhythms, and he slowly peels back the wires and tangled circuitry to reveal the lifeforce reverberating through these songs.


Songs like “Budding” and “The Owners Of” develop slowly, taking on an amorphous and elongated appearance. Much in the same way that a band like Sigur Ros builds their sound in waves of orchestral bliss, McDaniel has done the same for these frayed electronics, billowing synths and masterfully composed samples. All these elements rise together, building in force and conviction as each song is explored. It all culminates in a record (brief though it may be) that finds him operating at the height of his capabilities. “Ties” is a series of songs about just that, the things that hold us together and bind us through darkness and light—and McDaniel is as fluid and persuasive in his construction as he’s ever been.

Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on FacebookTwitter or by emailThe opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.