Martin Dosh is one of those percussionists/keyboardists who make multitasking look easy and sound great. He got his start playing in Andrew Broder's Minneapolis/St. Paul group Fog. But a talent like Dosh's eventually needs to bust out of sideman status. He signed with anticon and released a strong string of solo recordings—including Dosh, Pure Trash, and Naoise—that found him exploring the hazy zone where post-rock and instrumental hiphop exchange crucial data before peace-ing out. In this way, his output resembles that of anticon labelmate Odd Nosdam and, to a lesser degree, Mush Records–era Boom Bip. Further, the dreamy space funk of "India India" from Dosh, which was originally recorded in 2002, foreshadows the world's Toro Y Mois and Neon Indians.
As Dosh's career has progressed, his music has become more ornate and song-oriented, with his own voice and others' augmenting some of his compositions (it's unsurprising that polyglot violinist/vocalist Andrew Bird has utilized Dosh's playing and songwriting talents on his Armchair Apocrypha and Noble Beast albums, as well as enlisting him for his touring band). Dosh releases like 2006's The Lost Take and 2008's Wolves and Wishes sound like the sort of pastel, pastoral indietronica that the Morr Music roster—and fellow anticon artists Why?—has popularized, to a modest degree. Still, Dosh—with help from horn specialist Mike Lewis—has retained his exceptional ability to create tracks that combine exploratory textures with memorable melodies while also finding a happy medium between jazz-informed dynamics and chords and mantric repetition. On his fifth and latest album, Tommy (anticon), Dosh returns to a tougher, more percussive approach that's akin to Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit's busy, robust style. He's not abandoned vocals (Bird chirps in some on "Number 41") or lovely melodies, but Dosh has resumed what I think he does best: setting inventive rhythms to oddly textured pieces to which you can nod your head while also scratching it.
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Catalyzed by Seattle DJ/producer William Mempa, Monster Planet is a monthly held every second Monday at Can Can that provides a unique platform for a revolving cast of the city's foremost ambient-music proponents to create improvisational alternative soundtracks to B horror and B sci-fi movies. Add absinthe and Can Can's expansive stock of other potent spirits to the mix, and you have the probability for some incredible audiovisual synesthesia. The May installment features longtime visual artist Scott Sunn plus music generated by Brian Oblivion, Electrosect, Playing with Knobs, and Mempa. Anyone in his/her right mind who goes to Monster Planet will likely get out of it by night's end.
Dosh performs with White Hinterland and Surrealized on Sun May 9, High Dive, 8 pm, $10, 21+; Monster Planet happens on Mon May 10, Can Can, 9 pm, free.