Artist: Dousk
Title: Blender
Label: Vapour Recordings
By: Carleton Neil | 23 November 2008
  • 1. Blender (Original Mix)
  • 2. Blender (Jakiro Mix)
  • 3. Donut Dance (Original Mix)

Dousk "Blender"Dousk "Blender"

Out Now on Vapour Recordings

How many EPs does it take to make one LP? For the Grecian Ιοannis Douskos aka Dousk, between 2005's 'D.I.Y.' and his latest LP 'Kind of Human', he has released a string of singles potent enough to almost make up an entire third album. It is not that there's been a plethora of tracks to choose from but that none of the tracks on the 'Black Dot' and 'Mocca' EPs have been shuffled out of an LP because they wouldn't make the cut. If there was a pigeonhole Dousk seems unable to escape, it is that of 'quality', which must be a comfortable one. This isn't a secret; for the last four years he's garnered the attention of and left his mark on some big prog heads: Quivver, Tilt, and Pole Folder to name a few. When he's not laying down charging basslines under cool atmospherics, Dousk takes a penchant toward the intimate and minimal. This becomes more evident when he toes the line between the two on 'Blender' and 'Donut Drama', for Vapour Recordings.

'Blender' starts things off in what might be considered true Dousk fashion, aboard drawn out synths and fuzzy arpeggios but is then dropped into place with a strong kick. Underneath, a bulging bassline swells and fills pick at the mix in between the snare, creating a stop-and-go syncopation. In the first mini-breakdown we see some traditional EQ build-ups, tweaking the low bassline back into the mix as Dousk layers some sparse electro-fills that temper what might be a more sombre tone to the track. This technique is classic Dousk: his remix of Pole Folder's 'Babylon Days' took an original mix that verged toward dark and serious and gave it a cheeky flair. The same is prevalent here, using small amounts of slow snare rolls to lighten the mood. The rest of the track is predominated by this switch from serious to silly and all areas in between, and it works to create something that is not too momentous to dance to, and not so melodically contemplative that you hit the pillows with your headphones on.

Jakiro's remix of 'Blender' is a further affirmation of Dousk's present work and represents the style of the more danceable tracks on 'Kind of Human'. Wrenching out almost all semblance of the original and graphing it onto a stripped down bobbling techno track, Jakiro ties things together with an abusive whip like snare, etching small variations in the track with extra layers of quiet fills that drone into the background. The style of the original appears for a moment in the breakdown with the emergence of the melodic synths, but while it was at the forefront of the original mix, the melody here plays as the backdrop for the rest of the track, making Jakiro's remix truly more percussion-based than Dousk's production.

By keeping out major breakdowns and shortening the phrasing in the beginning of the track, 'Donut Drama' keeps the listener front and centre. The rubbery fills and kick only play out within the span of a measure, and the reverberating vocals in the background don't lend themselves to creating any form of space, which actually works out as the first half of the track then feels like a build-up. Adding to the rigidity is a bubbly set of sixteenth notes that dominates the top end and repeats on every beat, leaving no real wiggle room. The two note bassline is locked into the same one beat loop, which means that the ghastly vocals in the background and some variations in the top end are the only sounds left to change and mark the way through the track. It is this bubbly top end that fades out in the breakdown to make room for bassline chord progressions and a release of musical steam that carries the track to the second half, which is really where Dousk says 'fooled you!' and the track is expanded on swirling synths, crashing cymbals and a metallic grunge until it peters out to conclusion on the top end.

Whether he's courting favour with big labels like Global Underground and Renaissance or making progress with up-and-comers like Groovecollection and Vapour Recordings, Dousk's ability to create tracks that encompass a variety of listening styles and also incorporate the past, present, and future direction of his musicality leaves him as a producer who sits high on a lot of people's lists. 'Blender' and 'Donut Drama' are out now on Vapour Recordings.

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