Simple Exercises

Without computers, Dosh struggles to make the mundane intriguing

"Electronica with mistakes," says Dosh, describing his own music. "I record everything and then take an accident and turn it into a song."

His full name is Martin Dosh, but ever since his 2003 debut, he's favored simply his family name. On tour in support of his fine third effort, The Lost Take, Dosh is an affable 34-year-old from Minnesota, a veritable one-man band juxtaposing jazz, funk and experimental rock into a collage of sound that recalls both the good humor, instrumental dexterity and montage editing technique of classic Frank Zappa.

"I like exploring the process more than the actual music," says Dosh. In 2004, he released Pure Trash, a fascinating aural template of sounds and ideas. Recorded when his wife was pregnant, songs such as "Simple Exercises" and "This Is When Things Were Looking Up" feature the sampled voice of his wife discussing the upcoming event.

Dosh makes experimental music that's fun. Really.
Dosh makes experimental music that's fun. Really.

"I take inspiration from a lot of different sources," says Dosh, who works at a Montessori school in his hometown of Minneapolis. While Pure Trash was a decidedly intimate effort, The Lost Takebenefits from an eclectic host of contributors, most notably Andrew Bird. Several cuts feature a more pronounced jazz influence, namely the horn skills of Mike Lewis (Happy Apple) on "Unemployed Blues" and "Pink Floyd Cowboy Song."

"It's definitely a fuller sound," says Dosh. "Not nearly as cut-and-paste."

Dosh's personal background matches his unique sound. His father was going to be a priest until he fell in love with a woman who was going to be a nun. The pair abandoned the church and the result was Martin.

"I guess it's somewhat of a miracle that I exist at all," says Dosh, who floundered around in public school until finding his muse in music. After studying jazz and percussion at a prestigious music school in New England, Dosh retreated to his basement and honed his playful blend of drum loops and Rhodes organ.

"I try to explore things I can't understand," says Dosh, "like editing software."

Indeed, what comes across the most in the music of Dosh is an interesting indifference toward modern technology. His primitive Dr. Sample machine only holds 32 files, and Dosh admits a healthy distrust of computers. Dosh might be the only purveyor of electronica who hates electronics.

"I am just really interested in improvisation, on whatever instrument I can get ahold of," says Dosh. "That's when all the fun stuff happens."

Surprised at the praise he's received in print and over the Internet concerning the new effort, Dosh's reaction is also atypical for most musicians.

"I feel like I kind of lucked out," says Dosh humbly. "At this point, it pays the bills and it's always nice to be appreciated."

 
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