Death Cab’s Dave Depper makes an art + music mixtape.
This weekend’s listening party comes courtesy of prolific, Portland-based multi-instrumentalist Dave Depper—guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist for iconic indie band Death Cab for Cutie. Beyond Death Cab, Depper’s worked with Sharon Van Etten, Ray LaMontagne, Fruit Bats, and a long list of other acclaimed musical artists. He’s also done a number of solo projects, including 2017’s celebrated Emotional Freedom Technique. His newest solo endeavor, Europa, is slated for release on January 22nd via Jealous Butcher Records. While touring Europe with Death Cab in 2015, Depper developed a daily regimen of improvisational recordings as a way to fill the abundance of downtime between performances. In three weeks, he’d recorded 10 hours of live music on his electric guitar, from which Europa evolved—an exhilarating, introspective, ambient journey that makes an excellent companion for a socially-distanced winter evening at home. (You can preorder it here!)
The tracks Depper selected for his Art Mixtape tap into some serious innovators. In the mix are picks from Brian Eno, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Alice Coltrane, and more. One thing the songs have in common: they’ve all been sources of comfort for the musician over the course of this clusterf*ck of a year. Cue them up for some auditory accompaniment while you gaze at the 20x200 art Depper’s matched with each piece of music, and have your very own meditative movement. Read on! — Team 20x200
Here's some tunes that have given me comfort over the surreal, elastic time that has been the past ten months. I approached these pairings with a simple question in mind: if music is the soundtrack of our lives, then what is the soundtrack of our music? — Dave Depper
1. Peacock by Ohara Koson paired with Journey in Satchidananda by Alice Coltrane
7. Altarpiece, No. 1, Group X by Hilma af Klint paired with Sunrain by Ashra
8. Bougainvillea Galaxie by Jessica Zollman paired with Come Live With Me by Dorothy Ashby
10. Views of the extravehicular activity during STS 41-B, a 20x200 Space Edition paired with The White Arcades by Harold Budd
The 411 on Dave Depper
Dave Depper is the quintessential Portland sideman. OPB has claimed “there are musicians in Portland who seem like they’ve played with everyone. And then there’s Dave Depper.” And according to the Portland Mercury, “If you have a band in Portland, he’s probably standing behind you right now holding a bass guitar.”
These days, Dave is perhaps best known for being the guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist for iconic indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie (appearing on their well-received records Thank You for Today and The Blue EP). In addition to his work with Death Cab, Dave has collaborated live or in the studio with such luminaries as Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten, Ray LaMontagne, Fruit Bats, Mirah, Laura Gibson, and countless others.
When not busy with these outfits, Dave has quietly built up a diverse portfolio of solo work. In 2011 Dave turned heads when he meticulously covered Paul McCartney’s 1971 solo masterpiece Ram, note for note, alone in his spare bedroom (The Ram Project). 2017 saw the release of his first proper solo record of original music, the acclaimed synthpop opus Emotional Freedom Technique, as well as his first foray into ambient music, the EP Utrecht Suite. His newest solo record, Europa, will be released on January 22nd, 2021 on Jealous Butcher Records.