The Most Mysterious Sound of 2014: dd elle


By Sophia Abbey-Kuipers

When I heard dd elle for the first time, the atmosphere of the room abruptly changed. I was instantly engaged by this shy yet powerful and intriguing sound. Their tracks rely mostly on electronic elements, but there is a soft human side to each of them, be it through the vocals or a familiar-sounding instrument. Much like Jai Paul or SOPHIE, dd elle are very mysterious; they haven’t ever done an interview, and they seem to have no plans reveal their identity.

dd elle were thrust into the spotlight after Canadian DJ Ryan Hemsworth featured one of their songs on his series, Secret Songs. Secret Songs is Ryan’s project that shares two exclusive songs a month from hand-picked artists and offers these songs as free downloads.

dd elle certainly keep to themselves. Their Twitter and website, once active, have both been deleted, and they haven’t released anything since the debut of “Tell Me” on Secret Songs.

The first song to appear on dd elle’s SoundCloud account, “A Note,” has since been deleted, but four other songs released over this past year remain. Each song has its own story, but a unifying sound. Two of the songs are some of my favorites of the year–tracks that I could spend hours listening to and still discover something new in every time.

Check out dd elle’s releases below:

“Kind 2 U” is sweet and bubbly with a dark beat with shiny, simple vocals. A woman croons “There’s no going back, I think I know your kind/ And I’ll be kind to you.” Her solo voice becomes a chorus of rising voices before transitioning to a more distorted male vocalist. Recently, a music video was released for the song. According to The Fader, dd elle describes the video as “being alone with others, feeling free in a tiny space and feeling trapped in an open space.” The director, Adam David Littke, said it was inspired by the movie Risky Business and that it’s based on the concept of what happens when guys are left alone.

Watch Adam David Littke’s video for dd elle’s “Kind 2 U” here

“Love Me Only” has a similar vibe to “Kind 2 U;” the ethereal, mystical beats play with a funky sound under some distorted vocals. But this track has a little more jazz and soul than their first one does. It sounds less like a forlorn love song and more like a jam for your living-room dance party.

On their remix for Lowell’s “The Bells,” dd elle brings more life to the track, updating a sound that was originally just too familiar and boring. For her part, Lowell’s crystal clear voice brings an interesting update to dd elle’s sound, expanding their comfort zone from primarily soft and strained vocals. The two artists pair well, bringing out more from each other.

“Tell Me,” their most recent track from the album has become the most popular of dd elle’s releases and is maybe their most technically successful song to date. Compared to the first to tracks from their SoundCloud, “Tell Me” displays growth from dd elle and shines as a more developed and complete-sounding track. The vocals, although still using the distortion technique, are clearer and easier to make out. When the track was released on Secret Songs’s SoundCloud page, A note from dd elle accompanied the release:

“Here is a love song.
Thank you to Ryan for sharing it.
Thank you for listening.
More stuff some day
‘To mingle with the universe and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal’ – Byron”

There are rumors that dd elle is releasing an EP entitled “u”, although dd elle has not confirmed this. The only thing left to do is wait for the “More stuff someday <3″ that they have promised.

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