The Lost Take reimagines Dosh as the full band he’s always wanted to be. For his third album, he takes his expertly arranged keyboard and drum loops, smashes them, and spreads them wide over his tracks. Instead of puzzle-piecing his pre-recorded session bits into surprisingly organic soundscapes, Dosh builds his miniature opuses out of live improv (his own drumming and Rhodes playing) inspired by raw, written instrumentation (first Dosh’s emotive keyboard/piano progressions; later guitar, saxophone, bass, violin, clarinet and pedal steel from a hand-picked cast of Minneapolis musicians).
“One Through Seven” begins the album with what sounds like violin sampled from an old record moving slowly over a bubbling sea of keyboard melody. Dosh improvises the drums on top, in and out of a march, flouting time signature all the while but never derailing the composition. Mike Lewis (Fog/Happy Apple) chases the rhythm with his sax before the song unfolds. On “Everybody Cheer Up Song,” Dosh tries out his voice for the first time on record, soft-spokenly wedging himself into the corner of the bright song. Easy contender for immediate favorite, “Um, Circles and Squares” exemplifies the strength of The Lost Take. Dosh cuts loops from collaborator Andrew Bird’s violin, then drops in a fast-paced bass-synth sequence doubled by Rhodes. Jangly sounds catch the beat then cast it aside while the violin stretches out underneath the churn. Lewis returns, adroitly following the sequences at a fevered pace and augmenting the rhythm. As technical as it may seem on paper, the song plays gorgeously. On “A Ghost’s Business,” Dosh cuts Andrew Bird’s violin into jagged bits (a la the Books) and approaches his own instrumentation with the same surgeon’s scalpel. Overtop, violin and clarinet weave a common thread.
The slight hammering thumps and junk-piling percussion of “Ship Wreck” lends itself to the feel that something important is being built; then the song comes alive to the shared low- mixed duet of Dosh and his wife Erin (whose artwork physically defines The Lost Take). Erik Appelwick of Tapes ’N Tapes contributes distortion and texture to the subtly epic “Mpls Rock and Roll” and two others, while Dosh’s drumming students announcing the teetering pedal steel-tinged “Fireball” by happily shouting “Fireball!” into the video- game like atmosphere. Andrew Bird makes several appearances, but always at the behest of our maestro: no one element ever overpowers a track. Throughout Dosh amazes with his ability to trick the human ear— “Pink Floyd Cowboy Song” brings to mind Broken Social Scene’s warmth and layered mastery but with four contributors total instead of, well, 40—but The Lost Take never sounds pretentious or intangible. Instead, it’s the very natural sound of a damn good band. A band named Martin Dosh.
* immediate free MP3 download for all vinyl orders of this release.