Donato Dozzy, Acid Test 03


Photo by Alex Stoddard

[Absurd Recordings]


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I’ve never really understood the hype surrounding Donato Dozzy. There, I’ve said it and I’m ready to be eviscerated by the legions of Dozzy fans who undoubtedly read this website and the blogs and forums that extol the Italian DJ’s talents. But before LWE crashes amid a hailstorm of Internet invective, let me set forth my reasons. I’ve never been to Labyrinth in Japan, which is said to be the best place to hear Dozzy play. Instead, I’ve had to make do with online mixes and a set in Dublin to a small crowd, where for the record, he did a fine job in adverse circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an excellent DJ technically with an extensive record collection and a deep knowledge of electronic music — especially when he veers off the dance floor and into Krautrock/Kosmische territories — but so too do many of his peers. What is it about Dozzy that sets him apart and sees him afforded such wide-eyed adulation, the kind of foaming at the mouth fanboy behavior that one would not expect from grown men?

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I’m not sure. Dozzy’s latest missive for Absurd Recordings’ Acid Test is really good, a serene piece of ambient techno that sounds inspired by Richie Hawtin’s FUSE project, but its references are quite obvious. That is not necessarily a bad thing and the majority of contemporary techno and house releases worth a damn — including new records by Sleeparchive, Conforce, Meschi — are clearly inspired by older sounds and classic styles. Ironically, remixer Tin Man does a far more impressive job than the track’s author: understated, skipping drums provide the perfect accompaniment to Dozzy’s widescreen melodies, but it’s the producer’s monotone vocals and gurgling acid lines that make it sound unforgettable. As the track progresses, the addition of chiming bells and orchestral flourishes pushes it to a thrilling climax. So again, why the hype about Dozzy? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t write this review to provoke his fans, insult him or even as an attempt to slay one of techno music’s sacred cows. Dozzy’s releases are good, his DJ sets better, but what is it about him that invokes such awe? On the evidence of Acid Test 03, this writer has failed to find the magic ingredient that fires so many minds and feet.

lowlow  on April 29, 2011 at 4:46 AM

I keep not understanding the hype surrounding the 90% of hyped producers

“Everything popular is wrong”

bootsycolin  on April 29, 2011 at 6:51 AM

lol agree still waiting for my dozzy moment too.

Will  on April 29, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Ha, if you’re struggling to ‘get’ the sounds of Dozzy and think that Tinman remix is better then I really question the integrity of this site.

Kieran  on April 29, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I thought Dozzy’s mix of tin man’s ‘Nonneo’ was far better than the original. Swings and roundabouts.

Tom  on April 29, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Takes the right setting. Seen him a few times in the US for extended sets 4-8hr sets. No hype, just a soundsystem and a dark club.

acdT  on April 29, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Just remember how good this one is:
http://www.littlewhiteearbuds.com/review/donato-dozzy-k/

tom/pipecock  on April 29, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Dozzy was a great deejay for his set in Pittsburgh a few months back. Production-wise, I’ve love K and the record with Lerosa. Nothing else has really caught my ear, but I haven’t hated any of it either.

matt  on April 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Not much of his work has really hit me, but these two definitely did (especially the first one):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWQZqrWsqUw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZzZ1jdvIyM

Jesse  on April 29, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Dozzy does hypnotic tripping ambient full audio spectrum(plus sub bass) techno like almost no one else. Mike Parker is his very similar friend, although Mike is more sinister, they both show impeccable restraint, a long scale sound palette infrastructure and that mindmelting fucking chunky trippy vortex that holds you the entire time either is behind the decks. Cyclical techno. The churning abyss. Although nice fruity sounds occassionally apeear with dozzy.

They don’t get into that stabby and super swingy Detroit thing.

They don’t do that emphasis on the downbeat kick-> hiss hat that helps define the Berghainers. Much more of a breaks style flowing beat emphasis.

Traverseable wormhole is klangier and machine blood filled.

Stroboscopic Artefacts is more compressed and less restrained.

Dozzy is groovy.

Lots of people do serious techno pretty well, I think Mike and Dozzy have tiny almost intangible mastery of form and function that sets them apart for me. They have put serious years in and are consistent.
Maybe you could tell us some artists that you find higher on the hierarchy, or that you can’t distinguish any qualitative differences between my 2 faves here. I am only asking since the context of your review seemed wrapped up in your lack of appreciation for dozzy. Sorry if I am taking this all too serious. I don’t take it serious when I am foaming at the mouth and dervishing in the synaesthetic sound environment I am raving about.

Jesse  on April 29, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Another thing that sets them apart for me is the lack of too much of that dubby digital sound/white noise sweeps/imbalanced reverberations. They channel that primal analog(ish? you can take away the digital sheen with post signal processing) qualia that definitely has Italo roots.

Funk is what you don’t play?

petesrdic  on April 29, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Each to their own. Discovering Dozzy was a defining moment in my very long history of swimming in music. Many others too I have no doubt.
There’s really no point debating it; You either hear it / feel it, or you don’t. Above / Jesse says it all, and very succinctly at that. Well put man.

Pasota  on April 30, 2011 at 6:18 AM

Thanks Richard for actually giving your opinion of Dozzy and taking the risk… as you can see from the comments, this isn’t the same crowd as the Resident Advisors. LWE is one of the best sites that reviews electronic music.. and I think your followers really appreciate the opinion of the reviewer whether we may agree or with it or not. I have a hard time even looking at what someone has to say on RA.. yet I never let a review go by on this site… thank you LWE for your dedication and professionalism when it comes to reviews and for sticking out your neck when you feel obliged to do so…

Chris  on May 1, 2011 at 3:12 AM

I am an avid Dozzy fan and have been for a little while now, but I still like the Tin Man remix of this track much more. Those vocals, ooh-ah!

Kieran  on May 1, 2011 at 4:32 AM

@ Tom ‘No hype, just a soundsystem and a dark club’ That’s what it’s about.

Tom  on May 1, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Was that in Kennedy’s, in Dublin? If so, that was no way to experience him – for 2-3 hours on a weak sounsdsytem. Caught him do an extended set in the Bunker, BK one time and he blew my mind, to levels few people are capable of.

He has his moments in production, also.

richard  on May 3, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Hi Tom, yeah it was in Kennedy’s and you’re right, the sound system wasn’t very good and the crowd was small, so it wasn’t a great place to see him. Maybe one day I’ll make the trip to Japan to check him out properly!

ick  on May 8, 2011 at 8:16 AM

i buy all dozzy record without hearin. i saw him djing once and was so amazed long time after this set. this year i wanna goto labyrinth. yes i can say i am a fan. he was the first who made this deep deep sound from italia. so he created a genre of music i falled in love with. like jeff mills or villalobos did it 10/20/25 years beore

but in the end its true: There’s really no point debating it; You either hear it / feel it, or you don’t.

last try for all not dozzy lovers is min 12- min15 of his labyrinth set of 2008 (thx for this by mnmlssg again!)

http://soundcloud.com/paul-wuerdig/fairtilizer-15218-donato-dozzy-mnml-ssgs-mx12-pt2-donato-dozzy-labyrinth-2008

saintplacid  on May 9, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I’m one of the lucky fans. Actually, none of my electronic-music-loving friends do feel the Dozzy ‘thing’ (or the Mike Parker thing either, you’re right Jess). I’ve never really tried to convert them, as it is indeed a question of moment, and something to do with a special sensitivity. IMO, having it or not clearly doesn’t make you a better or worse person. I just sincerely hope you’ll have the revelation one day !
Just to finish : I think the ‘hype’ term when talking about him is pretty uncalled for and exaggerated. Being finally acknowledged for your talent by a wider base of listeners and critics, after so many years of true dedication and such valuable contributions, is justice… or did I miss tons of music magazine covers ??!!
Anyway, glad to read about him. Total indifference to his work would be the most unfair attitude.

Dozzy's Witness  on May 9, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Right, guys.
Dozzy is the Light, the Power, the Soul.
He’s coming back on Earth to defeat the Antichrist and the World will know Peace.

faunty  on May 21, 2011 at 6:03 PM

dozzy saved my rapture – put that on a bumper sticker

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