There's a requisite impossibility of effectively relating what it is about instrumental music that is so inspiring. It's an inability that is made all the more frustrating by the simple fact that to demand its definition is to negate its organic allure. A prime purveyor (read: instigator) of this arresting potion would be Martin Dosh, whose electronic wizardry on his latest album, Wolves and Wishes, showcases equal parts hiphop, rock, jazz, world, and ambient noise. If this reads as intriguing, wait until you hear it.
A Minneapolis native, Dosh delved into music at an early age, taking piano lessons before graduating to the drums at the age of 15. The hodgepodge of influences evident on his recordings stem from a childhood and adolescence spent listening to such varied artists as Run-DMC, the Cars, and New Order; and the result of such a broad-scoped stimulus has been a wall of sound. The crux of the technique involves Dosh's deft musicianship on drums, Fender Rhodes, xylophone, and keyboards, which are played by him alone, then looped in 12-second intervals, constantly shifting and morphing until what you have is more like the soundtrack to a wistful dream than it is an indefinable release from San Francisco-based Anticon Records.
"First and foremost, I'm trying to create something that is pleasing to me. If I can achieve that, then I have succeeded," Dosh explains. "Of course I want people to like whatever it is that I do, but I've come to realize over the years that that is totally out of my control."
Wolves and Wishes features collaborations from the likes of such far-reaching musicians as Andrew Bird (who Dosh also splits time drumming for), Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Fog, and Odd Nosdam, all of whom layer fantastic bits of dissonance and verve to counteract the more or less focused latitude of Dosh's compositions.
Dosh's live performances are a sight to behold. Seated alone (by and large), the drums kick in jazzy, funky spitfire grooves atop of which Rhodes and keys are stacked in a cosmic interplay, followed by a few tasteful xylophone blips and maybe a pipe being thrown to the ground for a shot of ambience. Dosh is careful not to read into his processes too closely, however, and seems to prefer that the spark forged at the time of writing be the only impetus behind its merit.
"Every night, I go to the basement and hit record and do something improvised," explains Dosh. "Perhaps a scrap of it has a bit of something that when I listen back later, brings up a feeling in me."
For now, Dosh seems content to build upon his already rocketing infamy as an explosive musical force, but mostly, he's just a humble father of two following his heart and his passion.
"When I started playing solo, I had no template, no one to emulate, so I'm proud that I discovered these things on my own," says Dosh. "But the thing I'm most happy about is that I get to do it for my job. It's the best job ever."