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.