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Mine Is May

Mine Is May
(Abandon Building)

Dof's debut If More Than Twenty People Laugh, It Wasn't Funny was an absolutely bizarre combination of highly-skilled guitar playing and completely hyperactive beat programming that sounded like something unique in a landscape cluttered with software-pirating loopslingers. While the follow-up of Mine Is May doesn't take any drastic steps in a different direction, it's those small steps that make it a more rewarding release overall.

The first thing that's noticible about the release is that the instrumentation has been varied ever-so-slightly. While the crazy beats ocassionally slam into the mix, they've been backed off a lot in favor of more subtle programming and it works quite well. In addition, more instrumentation other than acoustic guitar is included, and it helps give the album a bit more texture overall. Oh yeah, and at eight tracks and just over a half-hour long, the release is much more digestible and doesn't feel like it's repeating itself (which was one of my major problems with the debut).

Now that I've got that out of the way, let me just say that the opening track of "Asleep At Light" is one of the better melodic electronic/organic I've heard in awhile. Mixing a pretty acoustic guitar melody with loads of layered synths (including some bubbly analogue that would make Boards Of Canada fans gush), the track builds with a lovely buoyancy before decaying back again. "Ten Cities" again starts out with an acoustic guitar but mixes in piano, synth strings and other keyboards for a dense but quite pretty piece that really locks into place once the air-handling system beat starts whooshing and clunking. It's probably the best track on the entire release and the best I've heard out of Dof period.

In places, the release doesn't capture quite the same magic (it's hard when the first two tracks are so darn good). "Rain Not Stars" is another attempt at stripping the beats and leaving floating ambience but the corners are just too soft and unobtrusive (with the synth strings left exposed, they turn into pure syrup) for the track to really take hold. Fortunately, the album closes out with two solid pieces, including the excellent "A Warm Wall," which builds from sparse guitar and rhodes into a hyper, dense track that still allows everything to breath (including soft swells of ebowed guitar that crack through the surface in just the right places). If you enjoy releases on the Morr Music label or similar work, this is a really nice little release worth hunting down.

Rating: 7.25