Album of the Week: Donato Dozzy Plays Bee Mask (2013)

Imagine a party outside, in Japan, on a mountain. Heavy rain falls as ambient techno plays late into the night. This isn’t a dream: this is Labyrinth, an annual music festival on Japan’s Mt. Naeba.

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Peter Van Hoesen #labyrinth #japan #techno

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An attendee’s view of Labyrinth

It was here at Labyrinth 2012 that Italian techno producer Donato Dozzy met Philadelphian ambient/experimental musician Chris Madak, AKA Bee Mask. Dozzy called the festival “Simply, the best thing I ever experienced in my life,” and connected with Madak in an environment ripe for both musicians. Initially commissioned for a single remix of Bee Mask’s “Vaporware” (note: not “vaporwave”) 12″, Dozzy produced an entire album of reimaginings of the source material. The result: Donato Dozzy Plays Bee Mask.

The original “Vaporware” is initially a jarring track, its bleeps and blips immediately scrambling the listener’s brain before gaining a rhythm. Plays Bee Mask brilliantly uses the source material to create a much more subtle and calming experience. Infused with raindrops, the opener “Vaporware 1” is ambient bliss, looping the bells of “Vaporware” to create a sonic dreamscape.

Elsewhere, “Vaporware 3” freezes what sounds like a vocal loop a la The Field, “Vaporware 4” finds a techno groove, and “Vaporware 7” is a mind-melting finale. What Dozzy accomplished with Plays Bee Mask is outstanding in both the ambient and techno genres, especially considering the amount of music released in both fields over the past 10 years. If you consider yourself a fan of either type of music, do yourself a favor and listen to this album.

Listen to Plays Bee Mask on Spotify.

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