Donato Dozzy will forever be synonymous with a specific sound: hypnotic, atmospheric, techno. But if you've ever seen him DJ longer than two hours—or kept an eye on his expanding catalogue, like the two synth pop albums he released this year—you'll know his tastes are wide and deep. He's been playing drum & bass records since the early '00s, and even more so recently. Last year he turned heads by contributing a 170 BPM remix of Homemade Weapons on Samurai.
Now Dozzy returns to Samurai with an EP of original drum & bass tracks that live up to that remix. The closest in style is "Sanza High," which is rigid and stone-faced, with a straight-ahead thud that carries the spirit of techno. With "Mai," Dozzy provides his version of the Samurai sound: rattling drums and industrial whirrs. It sounds like a rusty hand-crank compared to the faster "Dusty Bones," which takes the anxiety-ridden sounds of late '90s neurofunk and makes them even more paranoid and heart-palpitating.
The real gem of The Tao is the title track, which is unlike anything else in either Dozzy or Samurai's back catalogues. Named for Dozzy's cat, on the surface it has the same eyes-down mood as the rest of the EP, but it's also unmistakably playful: listen to how the drums wobble and reverberate, a dubby effect that ends the EP on an uplifting note. A Donato Dozzy EP on Samurai was always going to be something of an event, but the fact that it's one of the label's best records in recent memory is a testament to the Italian producer's talent and versatility.
02. Dusty Bones
03. Sanza High