Donato Dozzy – Cassandra EP [Claque Musique]
Techno stalwart Donato Dozzy returns with a release on Italian label Claque Musique. The label puts out mostly deep cuts of house and techno, driven by a hazy Detroit-NY aesthetic sheen. Their ClaqueExtra series exhibits a hot, playful vibe and may seem disjointed to the label’s other extreme – in this case, Dozzy’s wonderful ‘Cassandra’ release. While ‘Cassandra’ may feel a little out of place among the jazz-funk-infused records of Bartolomeo and Joe Montana, Dozzy’s release can be seen to expand the label’s spectrum of quality cuts of deep and considered dance music. ‘Cassandra’ sits well alongside Luly.B‘s ‘Usor’ and label founder Pisaturo‘s ‘Claque Musique 15’, though it can be argued that no previous release matches Dozzy’s silk-smooth finish.
‘Cassandra’ eases in with suspended pads, while a simple house beat winds up to speed immediately after. Dozzy is able to repeatedly create a beautiful, carefree serenity in his tracks, and he achieves this through his mastery of simplicity when coming up with motifs. The track glides effortlessly with its minimal synth hook, while hats scoop into the mix with a subtlety that maintains the track’s ambience. Intricate details such as the interjecting claps and panned percussion delay are examples of Dozzy’s seamless production style – elements that are essential to the mix, yet are almost imperceptible. The rhythmic juxtapositions between the unfolding sections is what allows Dozzy to keep the listener engaged while keeping things so intensely minimal (such as 02:23, 04:42, and 05:17); to the more attentive listener, the acknowledgement of these micro-shifts in rhythm and texture foster a higher level of appreciation of Dozzy’s artistry.
AA, simply entitled ‘II’, is almost the antithesis of the opening track. Using a Hungarian instrument called a ‘doromb’ (also known as a ‘Jew’s Harp’), Dozzy treats the sounds with echo delay and a simple counterpoint to create a series of bubbling undulations. At only two and a half minutes, some may be confused as to why this piece of abstract sound design was included on the record; some may be disappointed with the lack of material on this EP but others may appreciate the left-of-field approach Dozzy has chosen here.
Despite being far from groundbreaking, ‘Cassandra’s mix of streamlined ambient techno and the accompanying piece of experimental will find its way into many a warm-up set. While Donato Dozzy continues to innovate through his highly successful collaborative projects (with Neel and Tin Man), this two-track EP shows an artist in balance.