The Lost Take
The road that Dosh has chosen or is destined to travel is well trodden and as a result can often be perilous. Instrumental hip hop sounds like a good idea but can often fall into the chill out trap and forever condemned to an eternity of middle class diner parties. Fortunately Martin Dosh skillfully avoids these pitfalls and his third full length for Anticon "The Lost Take" is easily his best yet - and actually has no right to be classed as hip hop.
Having started off playing drums in the avant-guard DIY outfit Fog, Dosh released his debut self titled album in 2003 followed by 2004's Pure Trash which featured assistance from Anticon heavy weights Doseone, Jel and Odd Nosdam. With The Lost Take the collaborations are just as frequent but of a different sort. Dosh has cleverly enlisted the help of a plethora of musicians from Fog's Jeremy Ylvisaker, Erik Appelwick from Tapes 'n Tapes and the wonderful violin of Andrew Bird. This is the key to the success of this record. Proficient on most instruments himself, Dosh has created a record that though predominantly drum based is a homage to the art of live orchestration. "Um, Circles And Squares" is the first instance of this dazzling love for music. Here, Bird's strings form a beautiful cushion for Dosh's rolling Rhodes sequences and drum beats. This prepares us for the album highlight of "A Ghosts Business". This could be a scene from a Disney cartoon about the nighttime goings on in a music shop. After the owner leaves the store, the instruments come alive and jam erratically to their hearts content expressing the unbridled freedom that an instrument would if it was locked up in a shop all it's life. As conductor, Dosh makes us think he's lost control of his orchestra - but expertly brings them into line with Prefuse 73 style cutting and pasting.
This track is very important to the album as a whole. Not only does it let us know what this man is capable of, but gives us a valuable insight into the intentions of The Lost Take. Every song after it seems to work better with this knowledge. By enlisting the help of such talents, Dosh creates a rich pallet from which to work his magic. Appelwick's crunching guitar chords give strength to the piano and drums of "MPLS Rock And Roll", making it a triumphant anthem - while his subtle finger picking weaves softly amongst the textural percussion contributing to the delicate warmth of "O Mexico".
I imagine each of the twelve tracks on The Lost Take as an intrepid group of explorers in the old Tarzan movies bravely making their way through the jungle. Comprised predominantly of toffee-nosed British aristocrats and their native bag carriers, they negotiate the perilous mountain path known as "Chill-Out Pass". To lose your footing here would mean plummeting into the raging crocodile infested waters of Hoxton-quiff-sporting-Foxton's employees, hungry to get their soft hands on the next soundtrack to their upcoming Thai fusion themed dinner party. Sadly, not everyone here makes it to safety. "Everybody Cheer Up Song" and the closing sax horror of "The Lost Take" only lose their footing for a second, but that's all it takes on this journey to fall to the depths of mediocrity. But everyone else bravely push on to the other side. Once there, they find the going slightly easier, as a path of sorts has already been forged by people like Four Tet and Prefuse 73, but armed with the brave pioneering Anticon spirit the remaining members of The Lost Take form their own roads through this wilderness to discover new and rich pastures. One would hope that after showing such courage Dosh won't rest on these green and plentiful lands but will strive on to higher ground.
3rd Nov 2006 - Tumblr3
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