Dan Snaith sounds tired of answering questions about math.
He comes from a family of mathematicians; he earned a Ph.D. in the field in 2005. And because he records and performs (under the name Caribou) electronic music, journalists (this one included) ask him a lot of questions about the relationship between his primary academic and musical pursuits. They both involve computers, don't they?
Snaith -- who will be playing with his band at a Daytrotter show at RIBCO on Saturday, June 5 -- said there are some similarities. But not many. "Being able to do what you want ... is kind of an intuitive process," he said in a phone interview last week. "In both mathematics and in music, you kind of have to use some gut-level intuition to piece things together. [But] I think they're very different in many ways."
What's evident listening to the music of Caribou is that Snaith's electronic instruments are largely tools, not ends. There are certainly electronic sounds, but the songs sound organic and feel handmade, and his singing voice is ethereal, warm, and emotive -- a perfect offset to any digital coolness. Put differently, there's nothing mathematical about Caribou's songs.