Martin Dosh is a percussionist from Minneapolis, Minn., but his solo work is far from simple drum work. With Wolves and Wishes, Dosh's fourth full-length release on the Anticon label, Dosh has composed a series of richly orchestrated, mostly instrumental electronica tracks with a cinematic grandeur. With collaborative help from such well-known artists as Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Andrew Bird (for whom Dosh plays backing drums), the record finds a balance between Dosh's trippy synth, keyboard and drum work, and the album's guitars, violins, clarinets and saxophones. The result is organic, never feeling over-produced or mashed up, as it works a happy, eclectic medium between trip-hop and more grandiose orchestral sound.
The album opens with "Don't Wait for the Needle to Drop," and from the first few notes you might think you're listening to a new Sufjan Stevens record. But Dosh quickly adds a heavy hip-hop beat to disorient any expectations. Instrumental chaos builds in a flurry of keyboards, drums, and synths until a short, sweet violin melody floats out of the mix, only to be chopped up and overcome by all the bells and whistles. Ultimately, a simple repeated keyboard motive prevails and the track slides into a soft ordered decline. The record isn't all trip-happy though. Much of Wolves and Wishes rests between jazz-influenced works like the smooth piano piece "Kit and Pearle" and jam-rock tracks such as the head-bob guitar track "The Magic Stick." Still, the album holds together under Dosh's signature, nervous, percussive jitters.
While each of Dosh's albums includes a few tracks with vocals, he usually sticks to wordless music. "I like the sound of vocals and my voice, but it's just the words there's a disconnect with." For this record, Will Oldham of Bonnie "Prince" Billy offered some vocals, almost as an afterthought to Dosh.
Dosh recently wrapped up a U.S. tour and will be playing a number of festivals with Bird this summer as well as a shorter solo tour. Plans are in place for him to put together material for an EP later this year.
Download this song in the Second Stage podcast.
Yesterday's Second Stage artist.
Email host Robin Hilton.