Review: Donato Dozzy Boldly Deconstructs Genre Barriers With Experimental DNB Cuts In ‘The Tao’

Donato Dozzy | The Tao | Samurai Music

Release Date: 27 November, 2020

When speaking of Italian musician and producer Donato Dozzy, pinning the artist down to a single or specialised genre would very much so be a form of sacrilege; Dozzy is an artist who seemingly knows no bounds, and is willing to traverse the electronic music realm in every which way possible – which makes for ever-intriguing releases from the artist. Over time Dozzy has formed a unique sound that allows for his work to be instantly recognisable – even if the genre is one we wouldn’t have expected from the musician at all.

Aside from the synth-pop albums the artist has released this year, straying into different territories is a staple for Dozzy; a great example being his collaborative project under the name ‘Men With Secrets’ – with their debut album ‘Psycho Romance & Other Spooky Ballads’ premiering this year, Dozzy delved into the realm of post-punk bliss and has made it clear that his technique can be applicable in any which way; atmospheric, driven and composed diligently, creating worlds of his own. While Dozzy is predominantly known for his techno work as a beloved DJ, he refuses to adhere to any boundaries.

With his latest EP release on Samurai Music entitled ‘The Tao’, Dozzy returns to the world of rich, powerful club cuts with a focus on experimental drum & bass and techno elements. Standing out within the drum & bass genre is a difficult feat, one which Dozzy accomplishes seemingly effortlessly at his first 170bpm attempt.

In the ‘The Tao’, we see a four track EP that is balanced well in its composition; the first track ‘Mai’ cradles strong, pulsing beat as it’s driving force – while linear in nature, the timbres Dozzy has chosen to use creates a frantic maelstrom of captivating experimentation. A hurricane gradually growing in size and urgency as the tempo picks up; Dizzy is known for the soundscapes he creates within his sound, the blend of ambient sound design, a strong confident beat that blossoms as lively crescendo and almost wild chaos of the alien electronics all woven together is focused and controlled as an introduction. 

The maelstrom of texture in the compelling, yet slightly anxious nature of ‘Dusty Bones’ picks up where ‘Mai’ left off, with more prominent extraterrestrial synths paving the way for a track that is a glimmering example of experimental drum & bass; the frantic space-age tone delves within a genre-bending realm, the choice of texture straying from typical expectations and diving headfirst into a hypnotic and somewhat psychedelic experience as the artist explores obscure, and at times bizarre tones used within the track that make it all the more interesting. 

‘Sanza High’ and ‘Tao’ balance out the frenzied, complex nature of the previous two tracks; while still remaining coherent in sound and composition, ‘Sanza High’ has more of a focus on sculpting a mesmerising soundscap. The gradual and minimal use of percussion, and the deep melody of the bassline allow for an accessible and danceable track that segues from simple, repetitive timbres into a blossoming track as layers of electronics increasingly build into a crescendo.

The closing track ‘Tao’ presents a strong portrayal of nostalgia in its classic drum & bass bliss, straying from the frenzied experimentation of ‘Mai’ and ‘Dusty Bones’ into a more recognisable tone which can’t help but remind one of the their early days, when the genre began to rise and it’s popularity grew exponentially. 

Stream & Purchase The Tao by Donato Dozzy
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Rating: 7 / 10

Feature Image: Donato Dozzy | Press (via Bandcamp, photographer credit missing in action.)

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