On this week’s Unsung Heroes, we take a much needed step out of EDM and into the murky troughs of Electronica, where a pioneering IDM specialist has been breaking the mold of conventional music with his unique, forward thinking methods of music creation. Currently residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this American pioneer has been creating a unique cocktail of styles ranging from rock, jazz and Electronica with a slight flair of Avant-Garde for over a decade. While the heavily experimental project of Dosh has been mainly broadcasted throughout the underground, his sheer creativity, innovation and visionary talents have been a revolutionary boon throughout an increasingly erratic 21st century musical era. The inclusion of computers and electronic sounds have given the rise of an infinitesimal supply of brand new timbres to discover and while House and R&B focused their efforts on 4 to the floor tracks, the Avant-Garde of Classical music (or what can be considered Classical Music at this point) has splintered the genre to thousands of possibilities. Dosh, however, has become a well established artist whose sound still excludes a certain youthful quality to it while his bold innovations towards track constructions and live shows continue to push the boundaries of musical genres and performance practices.
Described as ‘Polyrhythmic Hypermelodic Drone‘, the main focus of his sound is the unification between the three separate musical universes of Instrumental, Avant-Garde and full fledged Electronica. Having released five full length studio albums between 2000-2010, his ever evolving sound never becomes stale or over saturated and his ingenious disposition of constant reinvention always produces wildly fantastic possibilities in his studio. Dosh‘s live shows are no different, as he incorporates a large quantity of real instruments such as set, guitar and xylophone while also relying on a medley of keyboards, synthesizers and samplers, all under the watchful eye of musical programming applications that allows complete control over each individual sound; (Ed note: Assumed, but not confirmed). His tracks are built piece by piece by playing a single instrument and then looping that instrument via programming ‘patches’ and layering that sound with another, contrasting part that differs in timbre and in rhythm. What results is the equivalent of an artist who painstakingly applies each layer with tender care and accuracy and offers a startlingly human touch towards the cold, emotionless sounds that he is working with. Off of his unorthodox Tommy record comes the youthful, energy driven track that is Subtractions. With new implementations of vocal timbres, it is a fast paced piece that has alternative instruments emerging from every direction, which are fuel through gleeful surprises and wonderful musical potential.
Ed note: Please have an open mind before listening. This is a very highly advanced and experimental piece and it requires several listens before listeners ‘get it’.
Subtractions begins with an agitated tone as slight conversational whispers and thumb board plucks are placed within the constructs of a drum set and growly, noise induced synths. Highly unusual vocal timbres emote almost random ‘ba ba‘ sounds while a cool guitar part riffs off some awesome melodic interludes. As xylophone chords begin to solidify the piece, the main synth ostinato brings the electronic element to the fray as additional synth plucks, flowing pads and erratic percussion enter the mix, (with cool drum sticks adding percussive variety). The piece is very structured, yet it seems as though different instruments blossom through the ears on each measure of the piece. While constructed from simplicity to a tidal wave of mass sounds, he still allows enough space for each part to cut through the cacophony of sounds with crystal clear clarity and precision. The utilization of various polyrhythms through each part, (as well as filtered effects). also add a complex tone towards the piece. As jazzy saxophones collide with vocal timbres, a dreamy synth weaves throughout basslines with various percussive sounds and recapitulated motifs of previously established parts. Instrumental timbres gain electronic qualities and vice versa as the deteriorating line between the two are broken down through the masterful orchestration abilities of Dosh. To combine such chaos and near insanity into a futuristic, innovative portrait of unconventionality is nothing short of genius and virtuosic craftsmanship.
Dosh‘s single, Subtractions, is only available through a hard copy of the album, Tommy, but it is highly recommended you check out the entire release, as it is a mesmerizing adventure into timbres and sound design. Support underground talent and see for yourself on Amazon through the link below. We’ll be back next week with more EDM related released on Unsung Heroes. (Ed note: Check out an awesome live version of the piece below to see some revolutionary performance practices!).
Keep the music alive. -Q
Unsung Heroes is a weekly segment where we take a look back at an amazing production and bring it back into the light for older and newer fans alike. These tracks were often overlooked, overshadowed by a huge release or are just not that well known to the public here in America. Here, you can find all the hidden gems in many genres and find a new favorite track (or another tool/weapon for aspiring DJ’s).