Wolves and Wishes

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There's probably not too much about Wolves and Wishes that fans of electronic sound collagist Martin Dosh will find surprising. His fourth release picks up right about where 2006's The Lost Take left off, utilizing a revolving door of notable guest artists to augment his consistent sonic palette, which becomes slightly more focused and engaging each time around. As usual, Dosh -- first and foremost an expert percussionist -- puts complex rhythm patterns at the forefront of his compositions, whether they be the steadfast beat that drives album opener "Don't Wait for the Needle to Drop," the frenetic thrashing that opens "Bury the Ghost" (only to be quickly reduced to a tiptoe on top of a growing ambient drone), or the unpredictable bursts of lively drumming that weave their way in and out of "If You Want to, You Have To." Amidst the additional ebb and flow of circular keyboard riffs, doctored guitars, and innumerable spiraling bells and chimes emerges the pivotal guest talent to flesh things out. Beautiful swashes of violin, courtesy of Dosh's tourmate and usual suspect Andrew Bird, add subtle adornment in several spots, while the wordless bellowing of Will Oldham on "Bury the Ghost" provides the only vocals on an otherwise completely instrumental album. Perhaps most notably, Michael Lewis' intricate saxophone work shows up to conclude both "Wolves" and album finale "Capture the Flag" to remarkable effect. Though the music feels always on the move, it's difficult to grab hold of a real sense of development within Dosh's songs -- rather, each of the many instances of intense melodic repetition seems almost to exist in its own frozen, isolated moment in time, stretched and manipulated for all it's worth before finally being released. But while Dosh's effervescent soundscape often veers unpredictably from ambient and dreamy to manic and scattershot in a single stroke, it somehow remains unified, transfixing, and above all, highly listenable.

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