During the five years that passed between One/Three and Two/Three, polymath producer Tadd Mullinix kept Dabrye active with a short release for Scott Herren's Eastern Developments label, a handful of singles for Ghostly, collaborations on Thomas Fehlmann's underheard Lowflow, and several remixes. If you heard any of these releases as they came out, Two/Three will be less of a surprise. The album is much different from One/Three in presentation, length, tone, and structure. One/Three remains the most effective and subliminally touching fusion of IDM and hip-hop, an all-instrumental affair that rides in on a cool breeze and subsides after half an hour. Two/Three's contrasts are immediate, signified in the design of its sleeve and made further apparent with each successive listen. Nearly twice as long as its predecessor, the album contains 14 tracks with a varied roster of guest MCs and six succinct instrumentals. The experience is dense and as cold as a Detroit alley on a February morning, packed with biting beats and thick atmospheric globs. It's rather claustrophobic at times, if in a deeply alluring fashion, and it can be tough to get a grip on it all in one concentrated shot. A nine-track patch, from "Jorgy" through "My Life," is where you can get an easy-to-digest fix, as it involves an extraordinarily vast array of sounds and lyricists while sacrificing neither flow nor momentum. Here's where several Detroit and Detroit-area MCs -- from Platinum Pied Pipers' Waajeed (a phenom on the boards in his own right) to Invincible (who really should release a full Dabrye-produced album) -- step up as if they know they're introducing themselves to a lot of new ears. On "My Life," '90s-rap nerds will get a kick, and then a reality check, from hearing half of the duo that brought them "Fat Pockets" and "Soul Clap." Fittingly closed out by the Jay Dee and Phat Kat feature "Game Over," originally released in 2003, Two/Three's always moving, almost always stimulating, never stagnating, and will hopefully be followed up sooner than 2011.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
feat: Big Tone