Pure Trash

(Anticon; 2004)

By Peter Hepburn | 19 January 2005

Well, it’s January of 2005 and the new Prefuse 73 is set to drop like the atom bomb at some point in the next two months (research being overrated, and with file sharing making release dates somewhat pointless anyway, the vaguery seems apropos). So, before we get to that point it seems worthwhile to catch up on a sadly overlooked little Anticon, Scott Herren-inspired gem from 2004.

In many ways I could take the easy way here and say that Pure Trash is simply a happy version of One Word Extinguisher. The only problem: it isn’t. Certainly Dosh seems to be reveling in a far more functional relationship than Herren circa 2002. Everything from the track names (“I Think I’m Getting Married,” “Bring the Happiness,” “Building a Strange Child,” etc.) to the more upbeat, sunnier quality of his instrumentals and the vocal splices he uses (a woman’s voice opening the album saying, “you want me to say something about being pregnant, and having a baby.”): all exhibit a much happier DJ.

Still, this isn’t some rote rehashing of Herren’s work, and declaring it as such does a disservice to both. Technically, Pure Trash doesn’t seem to hold much of a candle to any of the Prefuse releases. Maybe I honestly am out of my league talking about the more sophisticated technical elements of such music, but there’s something in the raw viciousness and brutal crispness of a Prefuse album that Dosh doesn’t have --- not that it's necessarily a bad thing. In fact, when he does go for that effect (see: “Dark Lord of Rhodes”), he’s far less interesting. His skill seems to be more in the bright, slightly hazy colors of the emotional spectrum.

The acoustic guitar that opens “Rock it to the Next Episode” disappears and reappears in a simple synth line, with tape loops jumping all over and drums slowly building in sophistication and pure volume. The center of the album, “I Think I’m getting Married,” opens similarly, but Dosh manages to build it into a far more lush, albeit slightly melancholy, soundscape. “Bring the Happiness” is built around a simple piano line, and “Geye” begs for recognition as the best song to capture whatever the fuck it is the Books manage to capture since The Lemon of Pink. The title track drags a bit, but the album closes pretty well with the apprehensive, forward-looking duo of “Building a Strange Child” and the beautiful “The Last Plan.”

I’m planning to make it through till Surrounded by Silence (and the even-further-away Lost and Safe) on a steady diet of Low, the ridiculous new Beck album and bourbon, but if you’re the sort who can’t last without a good infusion of instrumental hip-hop, then Dosh is well-worth checking out. Perhaps not yet good competition for Herren, but give him time and he could well challenge the power of a Vocal Studies or One Word Extinguisher. Which ain’t so shabby, when it comes right down to it.