- Expertly executed acid tools from a techno master.
- There are few producers more qualified to make Tresor's three-hundred and third release than Donato Dozzy. The Italian techno artist's mastery of the Roland TB-303 has shone through in many of his records. Just as an expert chef dashes handfuls of a risqué ingredient into the pan without a second glance, Dozzy innately knows how to push and pull the oft-abused 303 for the desired effect. In the mid-'00s, he breathed new life into its use within techno, transposing the feeling of early '90s acid trance into a moody, minimal context. His 2006 collaboration with Say DJ, "Tutto Positivo," is an early introduction to this distinctive style. The same year, Dozzy also released "Gol," a standout track in which the 303's hypnotic, vocal-like melody was front and centre. It was an approach refined and finessed on his notable contributions to Acid Test, a label focussed specifically on creative uses of the 303. With 2011's "In Bed," Dozzy showed delicate restraint, the 303 no more than a gentle pulse; 2014's follow-up collaboration with Tin Man, Acid Test 09, perfected this subtle style. In the years since then, a throbbing acid bassline can be heard lurking beneath the surface of much of Dozzy's velvety techno.
In the last two years, Dozzy has refreshed his musical direction further through his DJing. In the genre-bending set from Terraforma last year, and the triplet mix-focussed session recorded earlier this year in Manchester's Soup Kitchen, Dozzy has shown a side of himself unrestrained by BPMs or styles. His consistently innovative approach to his productions and DJing makes his latest full-length, Filo Loves The Acid, a surprise. Though he has produced plenty of excellent club techno before, the LP is his most direct and functional record yet. The only glimpse of shimmering after-hours Dozzy is in the opener, "Filo." As the album unfolds, he leaves behind his hypnotic sensibilities—instead, it becomes an equally kaleidoscopic but much more intense mind trip.
Though the ideas are simple, they are expertly executed. The LP distills Dozzy's understanding of the 303 as a tool for building tension and release into some of the most perfectly executed acid techno climbers you'll hear. The 303 line on "Back" will make a throbbing room of dancers climb the walls in search of escape. As the tension twists upwards, the only release offered is a kick drum inching slowly into view, the crescendo stoked by light, teasing hi-hats as the acid line nimbly continues its ascent. Flipping this script on "Vetta," Dozzy builds tension not by withholding the kick drum, but the hi-hats. Their omission is noticeable, leaving the writhing, agitated acid line to take centre stage.
What Dozzy achieves, and many other artists fall flat in attempting, is to anthropomorphise his acid lines, giving each a distinctive personality. The 303 in "Duetto" desperately gasps for breath against the pressure of galloping kicks closing in on all sides, barely avoiding collision with the slightly out-of-time rhythm. On "Nine O' Three," the record's hardest-hitting club track, a rabid acid line threatens to rip right out of the speakers. Tightly tuned, filtered and compressed, the thwack of the 303 is held at arm's length from the kick, which keeps the components from clashing. These high-impact tracks are the LP's standouts. The last two on the album are less exciting takes on the acid techno format. "TB Square" is a cookie-cutter acid tool with flat drums and a queasy melody. "REP" brings to mind a tetchy alarm-clock ringtone, and a festering sense of unease. Still, it has an undeniable character, and provokes an instant physical reaction.
Considering how conceptual much of his recent music has been, it might seem puzzling that Dozzy would put out such a functional collection of acid tools. This album, however, is arguably not about him at all. As TRESOR303, it fulfils a unique archival requirement. On Filo Loves The Acid, Dozzy has held back his more radical approach, as well as his typically subtle use of the 303, to deliver an exemplary acid toolkit. Dedicating this release to his lifelong friend Filo, Dozzy has set himself aside to create a 303-shaped mark in time for everyone who "loves the acid."
04. Nine O' Three
06. Vetta Reprise
07. TB Square