DoF If More then Twenty People Laugh, It Wasn't Funny Review

BBC Review

Aerial M meet a seriously deranged drum machine on the debut (we think) from DoF.

Peter Marsh 2003

The dodgy title and the slightly forbidding cover (strange, plastic/organic computer generated imagery, oblique track titles and a lack of any credits) may lead the average browser to the conclusion that this CD is yet another helping of impenetrable electronica.

Appearances aren't everything though; this is a rather lovely record. Dof's obviously had/have one ear cocked to the bucolic, folky guitarscapes of Dave Pajo's Aerial M as well as the ephemeral world of glitch electronica, and the two are blended here with a consummate ease (or maybe a consummate unease). Simple, yearning acoustic guitar pickin', delicate piano lines and misty, fragile synth melodies are unfurled over a restless backdrop of thuds, clicks and crashes that could be the work ofa drum machine programmed by a lunatic and powered by an extremely unstable power supply.

DoF's way with melody equals and often surpasses Pajo's sometimes wayward meanderings; for the most part, their/his/her constructions are more focussed. The simple obviousness of the melodies and chord patterns are really quite beguiling, but the constant rhythmic shifts and textural grit generated by the drum programmes creates a constant flow of almost resolved tensions. Sometimes this doesn't entirely come off (as on ""such is life, dear sir", where there's too much contrast between the two elements for too long). Here, it's not quite clear whether DoF want you to be lulled into a state of bliss or just wind you up.

Elsewhere though they accelerate the rate at which the listener might feel those two emotions so that they blend into an entirely different reaction, and one that's much harder to define. It'd be interesting to know what it is exactlythatDoFare aiming for.This is music that draws its power from its blend of the conventionally beautiful ("Where there's hope, there's life" is swooningly gorgeous) and the distinctly alien, or even perverse. Worth checking out.

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