Donato Dozzy: Plays Bee Mask (Spectrum Spools)
Ambient and techno producer Donato Dozzy reworks Beemask’s “Vaporware” track in a variety of shapes and sizes with this 40-minute stunning collection. I’ll come clean that while I’m partially familiar with Bee Mask’s repertoire, I have not heard the EP that contains the original “Vaporware,” and so I’ve enjoyed this album as a total standalone without context. Each of these seven tracks is untitled (I’ll just follow the ID3 tags and number them off) and has a different vibe. “Vaporware 01” is lush and pretty, all based around a solo chiming arpeggio lead, backed up against field recordings of rain and some airy synth pads. It sets the tone quite well with its mistiness and wistful mood. Things get more interesting with the hazy shudder of the second treatment, forlorn and gloomy. Its shimmering textures recall the buzzing energy of wings flapping in place while a dense fog of reverb threatens to swallow the whole idea. On the third piece, he changes the game up again by sampling the sound and stuttering it in a way that feels both tense and almost menacing. Both the fourth and last cuts of the short album reprise the more clearly pronounced arpeggio lead of the opening track, but in inverted and varied ways — a nice cross-referencing of technique and style without feeling redundant. Parts five and six seem to fall the most in line with Dozzy’s own repertoire, never fully indulging in dubby techno but referencing so many of its gestures and tropes indirectly. The whirlpool of reverb around the chugging center of part six is the star of the track, while there’s a handsome lower-end groove underpinning its predecessor. It’s certainly more tame than some of the noisy sprawl that’s characterized Bee Mask’s material, but it shares that hazy, obscured surface and a rather melancholic disposition. It’s a solid listen from start to finish, highly recommended for fans of melodic, lush, beatless electronic music.