08 Jan 2004 // A review by Kraven
Daniel's third album, Bootlegged at The Temple, came at a time when Daniel was fascinated with the idea of "a guy doing his thing, unannounced in a bar."
"I wasn't on the gig guide," Daniel says of the nights in question.
"They were spontaneous sessions, testing out tunes in new ways and just kinda playing to anyone that happened onto me."
It was to be an experiment in playing and relating to strangers - strangers without expectations and without an inkling of what was in store for them. The liner notes to the album 'Bootlegged At The Temple' give an interesting angle on its background, but, as Daniel continues, the primary motivation was that
"I was just fascinated by musicians doing their thing, without all the fanfare."
"I'd travelled a lot and seen several really amazing musicians, just kind of spontaneously pulling up and playing in a local bar - and loved it."
So much so, in fact, that the idea of simplifying his modus operandi was simply too tempting to refuse.
"Rather than setting up a live recording, I chose a more realistic and honest portrayal - involving playing to whomever, and not to an invited audience."
At the same time, however, it should be noted that Daniel was a sometime regular fixture at The Temple and elsewhere - filling the venue on official, promoted gig nights.
As a cathartic exercise - in the same way Aristotle suggested that art can purify the emotions - Daniel saw 'Bootlegged At The Temple' as "my way of bootlegging myself."
"Doing an unannounced gig - like those whom had inspired me - I took the chance that no-one would be interested, but people that were there enjoyed what I was doing."
It is a little rawer than his previous or later works, but not unpolished. Daniel weaves his way around the familiar tracks with such a natural grace that they appear to be almost completely new. Zebra Crossing, for example, broods and shines "stinging like needles of joy" as Daniel so eloquently puts it. Midnight's Gone, on the other hand, shares the warmth and conviviality of The Temple, wherein Daniel simply "takes the floor (to) maybe play a song." Herein lies the essence of Bootlegged: simply an audience, a musician, and a quiet venue . . . - no hype. Tracks such as new one Echoes - "we might just be trying to set up a home, but even when we're fused together we shut our eyes to be alone"; and Look Mama - "Mama, I been dabbling in things I shouldn't had all of my life for the thrill of it" strike deep with their poetic, though harsh, reality. There's also Fuck The Gardeners, Are You A Free (Wo)Man? - "Thought you might like a wristwatch, but why remind you of time?" - Fireescapes, Good Job? and Sarah (all from FINE BY ME and flashback) to round out the album along with the other new song Pretty Good Effort - " I said I think I'm making a pretty good effort at using my limited talent and if I'm ever to reach the sky, first I got to get by".
In context with Daniel's previous two albums - 'FINE BY ME' and 'flashback' - and subsequent release 'Bound and Suburban', 'Bootlegged' is a departure, which provides the listener a greater perspective on all of his work. Bootlegged is a great live album, which, over time, becomes as much a voyage of discovery and inspiration for the listener as for the musician himself.