already dead tapes & records

AD297

Artist:
Dotson

Album:
De:termination

Released:
November 2nd, 2018

Artist Location:
Los Angeles, CA



“While listening to Dotson’s new tape, ‘De:termination,’ my mind was taken to another place on the first few listens. I envisioned a midsize, empty dance club. The floors were concrete and the angles were clean and straight, provoking a sense of sterility. The lights were dim. Dotson was nowhere to be seen, but it was clear he was here. It was comfortably upsetting.

This is dance music whose goals don’t necessarily involve dancing. There’s a huge variety of electronic instrumentation and what I assume are electronic recreations of acoustic instruments. This is pure sound hoarding. As a listener, it’s never overwhelming, as records with this trait often tend to be. He’s managed to make a wide variety of sounds into a cohesive whole.

“Wilhelm or Steve?” is my favorite song. It starts with minimal drum machines, minimal keyboards, a bassline played by two different keyboards, and then what sounds like hand drums come in. If he can make hand drums sound cool, he can do anything. There’s briefly a ’90s techno-sounding keyboard line and it sounds like the beat’s about to drop, but instead a harp is added. The song peaks once more before disintegrating into itself. It reminds me of the better Fridge records.

I’m very curious about Dotson’s relationship with his music. He creates beautiful, well-crafted phrases, while wielding disintegration and destruction with the steady hand of a waterboarder as dynamic tools. Phrases are chopped up and distorted; he then either allows them to return or they morph into some messed up version of themselves. Does he take delight in abusing his songs? Or does he do it because he has no choice in the matter?

Unfortunately for me, the last year hasn’t left much room for discovering new music. This includes when Dotson first showed up on my radar when Already Dead released ‘Indifference’ in January 2017. The cover was an altered portrait of what I think is Paul Ryan. Looking further back, most of his records have very dark imagery associated with them. ‘De:termination’ is quite the departure from this mold with an almost whimsical hand-drawn cover on a gridded yellow background. It’s such a departure that I can’t help but wonder what kind of evolutionary step this record shows. I very much look forward to looking through the back catalog to find out.”
-Chris Cowdrey, Already Dead Tapes, 2018

Cassette Edition of 60
Artwork by Dotson