Dallas String Quartet stretches artistic boundaries just far enough where the listener doesn’t lose track of the original song. In the case of DSQ’s latest track, “Don’t Start Now,” an instrumental Dua Lipa cover, these classical music and jazz fusion stalwarts splash a new coat of paint on the pop track much the same way a Jackson Pollack painting showers the viewer in color. It’s an immersion of sounds not often associated with a power-pop / dance track. The final touches are classic.
Violinist Ion Zanca, who’s originally from Romania, moved to the States to pursue a college education. His studies led him to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. It’s there he where accrued a wide mix of musicians that shared the same passion and drive. Upon discovering the popularity of their cuts of well-known rock songs, the Dallas String Quartet found their niche and took on popular tunes outside the genre, too. What is most heard in the DSQ sound, though, is the foundation of a band that honors their roots and at the same time, challenges the status quo of what classical music should sound like. “Don’t Start Now” is a perfect example of a thriving band. The group is comprised of composer and violinist Zanca, violinists Eleanor Dunbar and Melissa Priller, bassist Young Heo, guitarist Anthony Plant and percussionist/drummer Efren Guzman.
Three different violins interwoven over robust percussion, fervent keys and a rowdy bass guitar (and later electric guitar) await the listener inn DSQ’s “Don’t Start Now”. The song is spinning with waves of strings and rhythms. The mix of both electric and acoustic violin is dynamic. The percussion, an even beat, thumps along. Beat meets the electronic bass, a crisp squelch. The electric guitar, coming in towards about a minute left, is mixed under the violins, a warm burst to the flighty violin strings. Zanca’s violin, Priller’s electric violin and Dunbar’s violin seem to, um, take second fiddle, to no one. When the trio combines for the melodic chorus, a beautifully stunning melody that is heads above Lipa’s singing occurs, giving me goose bumps. The piano feels like just a whisper at times, but it’s definitely present. The overall fullness in the sound is truly a team effort. Fans of Lipa’s original version will surely not be disappointed. Listeners that enjoy Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Adele (parts of the harmony in “Don’t Start Now” are reminiscent of “Set Fire To The Rain”), Halsey, Lindsey Sterling and more have to get DSQ into their playlist. It’s required listening and the ingenuity is spellbinding.
DSQ’s refreshing sonic approach extends to their visual branding, too. In the “Don’t Start Now” music video, the group merrily dances and plays their instruments amongst the background of their individual home studios and living areas. About the middle of the video, there’s a glitter filter that seems more than fitting. This song, especially DSQ’s version, is a confetti of sounds and melodically inventive deep dive. This instrumental song’s actions speak louder than words.
by Babette Cook