REVIEW: DICI — Five Rings (SINGLE)
The numbers speak for themselves — just in the past four months, DICI has brought in hundreds of thousands of streams online through the release of his self-titled debut EP, and ahead of dropping his first proper album Doses, he’s breaking off a hearty sample in lead single “Five Rings” almost guaranteed to get your hips swinging. There hasn’t been much time for DICI to transition from obscurity to star-caliber indie performer, but he isn’t letting that impede his solid performance in this track, which I think is one of his most mature and accomplished compositions to date.
It’s always a good thing when an artist works the production quality of a release into the aesthetics of the content being recorded, and in “Five Rings” everything from the equalization of the vocal to the style of mix lends some beautiful bizarreness to the music we might not have experienced without the extra dash of zany experimentalism. You can’t play by the rules when you’re trying to rewrite history the way this artist is, and from where I sit this single only further pushes DICI’s artistic profile away from the mundanity of his competitors and towards fresh, undiscovered realms in alternative music.
There’s nothing quiet about this beat, and yet the drums aren’t particularly monstrous compared to the vocal at all. Honestly, the percussion could have been a lot louder without intruding on the melodic elements in this song, but I suppose if DICI was trying to establish a thoroughly minimalistic foundation with the groove, it would make sense to give it as few fireworks as possible. Regardless of the technicalities, his concept results in a really fun, club-worthy single in “Five Rings” that doesn’t feel completely confined to being a dancefloor soundtrack (which is a lot harder than it might sound).
This song features an interesting balance of hard and soft instrumental faceting, but the additional detail here is undeniably necessary to maintain a depth in the narrative we wouldn’t be exposed to in a simple spoken word performance. Unlike a lot of his contemporaries outside of the United States, DICI the rapper isn’t afraid to be DICI the pop musician when it benefits the emotional substance of what he’s trying to communicate with the audience, and while this used to be standard among music’s top shelf, it’s unfortunately become so rare a feature that he sounds exceptional in this instance for wearing it so well.
The bottom line here is that if you’re not already listening to DICI and following his rise to stardom, you really need to be — and “Five Rings” is the perfect gateway to his catalogue. I hope the rest of Doses’ tracklist is as fierce as this leadoff number is, and having chosen this as the first teaser for the album, I think it’s going to be a rather engrossing affair when it does become available worldwide. DICI is a captivating player, and the full force of his abilities is on display in this song.