Dogon

Redunjusta [2 Disc]

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Redunjusta [2 Disc] Review

by Stanton Swihart

This two-disc NEWdOG release contains Dogon's critically acclaimed first album, Notdunjusta, with the addition of a disc of remixes of that album, as well as a couple early solo cuts by Dogon's members, Venezuelan Miguel Noya and American Paul Godwin. The duo is percussively inventive and original in the same way that Aphex Twin is. They use anything that is necessary to impart their rhythms. Often the source of percussion is sampled vocal bits that act not as voices, but as musical notes and textures, as on "Chet's Dream," in which a vocal motif -- more like sinister pagan chanting -- opens the song before spreading into the lovely, almost childlike, melody. "Humedo" even progresses over top of what sounds like typewriter clicks, and with its Middle Eastern feel, comes out both sacred and essential-sounding. Notdunjusta, in general, blends ethnic influences with spacy techno and nervous drum'n'bass. Sometimes percussive elements morph into melodies themselves. On "Lleno," bubbling synth notes and electronic squelches weave in and out of womb-like bass pulses, while the song's melody, created by piano and cello, exists almost subliminally off in the background, as if it is filtering in from speakers. It's almost like a symphony happening out in the real world has been transfused through the skin of an expectant mother and mixed with the blood and internal sounds of the body. In fact, Notdunjusta takes the force and instrumental texture of the symphony into lush, electro-ambient spaces, building and subsequently undercutting momentum with unequaled evocative command to the point that Noya and Godwin can take a listener anyplace they please. The album is pastoral in the sense that it paints detailed backdrops and locales, though they are not entirely the province of either urban or rural dimensions, often seeming imaginary or surreal, as if they have one foot in this world, one foot in a place of disorientingly placid mechanization. The feeling is almost utopian -- or perhaps dystopian -- it is never fully revealed. The album ends on a note both pastoral and, as it began, womb-like, as "Brainstorm at Redrock" showers the listener with turbulent ocean waves, rain, and a heart beat. The sense it leaves is one of textural consistency, but that consistency could be either serene or darkly glistening, as if something may be lurking beneath the surface. Redunjusta is much more incendiary and frenetic than its parent album. Drum'n'bass beats and dubbed-up bass splay manically throughout the songs courtesy of top remixers such as N.Y.C.'s M'Lumbo, citymates Reza and Seer, and labelmate Jhno. Even the most ambient of songs, in these hands, whips into electronic mayhem and mystery, and the dimensions it adds to the music are incalculable. Instead of just serene head food, Redunjusta is kinetic and move-worthy.

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