Matthew Dotson
Sublimation [CS; Already Dead Tapes]

It seems like it’s been a decade since I first looked at the music of Matthew Dotson for the Cerberus section of Tiny Mix Tapes. In fact, the amount of time that has passed is really only about a year, but to Dotson that might as well be a light year — what a turn-over/around/under for this now-LA based musician. The Dotson-isms I came to know and love from his self-released Excavation cassette are still recognizable here, but he’s thrust his shape-shifting rhythms, elegant explorations of the stereo field, flirtations with tonality-intonalities and breakneck editing into the world of the Vapor — a new set of audio-pigments with which Dotson paints swift strokes on his own unique canvas. Neon beats bubble up to the surface from under washes of ambient synths and time-warped pop samples, only to be cut up with hyperactive hand claps and sliced with shards of white noise. Intermittent sections of soft, twinkling piano melodies drift by like a cloud. Tempos glide from gobs of slow-mo bass to swift, galloping trots only to dissolve and melt themselves back into beatific balladry. To be short about it, nothing makes much sense although at the same time it all coalesces like magic, a mix concocted by Merlin himself. The rules and regulations of the regular are here, but pushed to their limits, Dotson bursting through musical shackles in exciting new ways that will prick the circuitry of your brain with little electric shocks of intrigue. And a lot of it is also downright beautiful. Miles ahead of his contemporaries (if there are such things), and maybe even miles ahead of his own damn self… Here’s hoping Dotson doesn’t end up running his work off the side of a cliff, only to fall into a pit of oblivion. This is just manageable — barely and perfectly so.


Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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