“Living & Dying,” the brand new single from local Vancouver resident Iain Howie, is unmistakably modern dance music. The production quality, four-on-the-floor beat structure, and sound processing all make sure of it. But to leave it at that would simply be a disservice to what is, underneath the arped-out synths and thumping kicks, a lyrical ballad bursting at the seams with melancholic despair.
Compositionally, ‘Living & Dying’ breaks far out of the loop-based patterns that are commonplace in the dance world, with instrumentation that comes closer to the feel of a session musician or live band — a testament to Howie’s musicality. His soft vocals counterpoint the airy pads that are omnipresent throughout the track, giving it a sombre tone. The lyrical quality of the track makes it perfect for home listening, and yet provides just enough structure that DJs won’t have any problem fitting it into a set for a bit of a changeup.