Dosh: The Lost Take

Dosh + Anticon = grungy hip-hop packed with verbose rapping? Try again. Martin Dosh's third full-length, The Lost Take, has more in common with the sunkissed pop stylings of F.S. Blumm and Wechsel Garland than the urban grime of Ghostface and Madvillain. Abetted by a large crew of guest musicians, including Andrew Bird (his violin a key presence throughout) and Tapes'n Tapes Erik Appelwick (whose guitar gives the epic burner “Mpls Rock and Roll” a distorted punch that's welcome in this generally well-behaved context), Dosh presents 12 episodic mini-symphonies filled with intricate weaves of strings, glockenspiel, synth, saxophone, and piano melodies. Even so, drums are the nucleus of his sound; pulsating with a vigorous snap and robust punch, his breaks are the life force powering the songs forwards.

Despite the songs being three-minute vignettes, Dosh's jittery material includes so many twists and turns and stop-start passages, the effect is sometimes as dizzying as a sugar rush: vibes and strings float atop rambunctious, loose-limbed drum patterns in “One Through Seven” while “A Ghost's Business” shadows staccato piano and violin treatments with extended clarinet tones and “Unemployed Blues” features an exploding fireworks display of drums, fuzz guitar, and violin. Still, including so much rapid-fire detail guarantees that the ride's always picturesque but including a languorous moment or two would add contrast. Even when the mallet clusters and Rhodes melody suggest “Bottom of a Well” might offer a rare moment of contemplation, Dosh can't resist injecting boisterous splashes of marching drums and guitars. “Everybody Cheer Up Song,” on the other hand, is rendered more memorable for the pop warmth its gentle weave of electronic beats, vibes, and strings cultivates.

November 2006