Dabrye
Two/Three


4.0
excellent

Review

by Miguel Walter USER (20 Reviews)
July 1st, 2006 | 16 replies | 5,198 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

The cover of Dabrye's Two/Three shows a man getting his neck broken by something you can't quite identify. Is it a ghost? Some sort of demon? You just can't tell. In a way, this sums up Two/Three rather well. The music sneaks up on you and explodes, slapping you across the face, but after it hits you, you aren't sure what exactly happened. Was that electronica? Hip-hop? You don't really know. But no matter what broke that man on the cover's neck, he is dead. And no matter what genre Dabrye's Two/Three might be, you'll still hear it and you'll still want more.

Dabrye is Todd Mullinix, a quiet nerd from Michigan who made a name for himself by making two albums of moody instrumentals, 2001's One/Three and 2002's Instrmntl. Both albums impressed critics, who loved how he made electronic music that seemed to have hip-hop running through its veins, but Dabrye was in no rush to get back in the studio. And for a few years, the music community was forced to step back and wait for his return. 2006's Two/Three is that return. It shows Mullinix exploring hip-hop even more than before and enjoying every second. Now, he treats his songs less like instrumentals and more like beats, allowing various emcees to rap over them. The guest rappers include Stones Throw regular Wildchild, MF Doom, Beans and even J-Dilla himself. Dilla, of course, passed recently, but the track was recorded a few years back. The album also puts the spotlight on some emcees who the public may not be aware of, cats like Invisible, Vast Aire and the phenomenal Kadence.

The first thing one notices about Dabrye is his production style, which is incredibly hard to describe. If Richard D. James smoked dope with Madlib and the two made an album together, it would sound like Dabrye. If Björk meditated, channeled Dilla's spirit and walked into a recording studio, it would sound like Dabrye. If you took a sledgehammer to the side of pinball machine while fighting the man with Chuck D, Flavor Flav and the Bomb Squad, it would sound like Dabrye. It's like EL-P, but also sort of like Moby. It's raw, but also epic. You often hear people say that such acts as Radiohead, Aphex Twin and Sigur Ros are showing us where music is headed, but I think the same can be said for Dabrye. Electronic music and hip-hop have to eventually unite, right? It is just bound to happen. I mean, I suppose you could claim it has already happened, but I'm not so sure. This is the point where The Unseen meets I Care Because You Do, where Deltron 3030 meets Homogenic.

There are a number of highlights here. On album opener "The Stand," Wildchild raps with style and authority while Dabrye's beat is a mix between a creepy string section and what sounds like lazers being shot in a sci-fi flick. "Air," another highlight, features MF Doom. His rhymes don't really make much sense, sure, but his flow is as relaxed and matter-a-fact as always, giving them that charm that you can find in almost anything Doom touches. Another solid track is "That's What's Up," a song featuring Vast Aire. Aire doesn't rhyme with the beat, instead just speeding up and slowing down as he feels is necessary, but his delivery still works somehow, making you follow every line as he spits. The beat on "That's What's Up" is equally impressive, blending video game sound effects with handclaps and a suspenseful keyboard part. And "Game Over," the track featuring both rhymes and additional production from Dilla. ends the album with a bang. It bumps like a TI single, but the beat is much less repetitive than, say, "What You Know" or "Rubberband Man," drawing you in and keeping you interested throughout.

Despite all of those great tracks, though, the instrumentals are clearly what Dabrye is still the most comfortable with. Both "Machines Pt. 1" and "Machines Pt. 2" paint the pictures their titles would lead you to believe, "Jorgy" features a distorted beat just begging to be rapped over and the strange "Piano" shows exactly where the Aphex Twin comparisons come in. Really, there isn't a single second of production on Two/Three that isn't interesting. Even if a certain beat or emcee turns you off, you'll probably find something else about the track to keep you from wanting to change songs.

Overall, Dabrye's Two/Three is a stellar album that shows where hip-hop is headed. It may not earn Dabrye much more national attention, but it should certainly help him become one of the most sought-after producers making music today.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 1st 2006



2806 Comments


If you saw my DJ Shadow review, you'd know that i'd know nothing about Madlib or anything, however, I really like your writing style and how you can describe the overall sound instead each track. The only thing I would work on is a better conclusion, something better to sum it up.

STLMiguel
July 1st 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well Madlib is definately worth checking out. If you are just getting into DJ Shadow, etc. and want to find some hip-hop you might like, he is a good place to start. Madlib and MF Doom both. Those two should keep you busy for a long time. Thanks for both the compliment and the suggestion.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 1st 2006



2806 Comments


My next Hip-Hop endeavor is going to be Mezzanine. I'll definitely keep the artists you mentioned in mind, though.

STLMiguel
July 2nd 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow. I know I'm not one of the 5 or 6 people here that everybody worships, but I thought I'd get at least, you know, comments from more than one person.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 2nd 2006



2806 Comments


That's what happens when you review something nobody knows. Unless a lot of people do and I'm just retarded.

STLMiguel
July 2nd 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I suppose, but one of the points of coming to Sputnik in the first place is to discover new music, right?

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 2nd 2006



2806 Comments


That's my point of being here. We really need a private messaging feature so we don't have to take up half a page of comments.

STLMiguel
July 2nd 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Or we need to bring the pony express back.

Robert Crumb
Emeritus
July 2nd 2006



165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Didn't expect to see this here. I liked the Richard D. James smoking with Madlib comparison, I think it fits. Fairly solid album, probably in the top ten of hip-hop I've heard this year. I love the Dilla track, beat is a rocker. "Reconsider" is really good, too. Nice review!This Message Edited On 07.02.06

STLMiguel
July 2nd 2006



335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, yo. This year hasn't had too many jaw-dropping hip-hop classics yet, but I suppose we're only half the way done with it.

Robert Crumb
Emeritus
July 2nd 2006



165 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There are definitely a lot of upcoming albums that have jaw-drop capability. I'm hopeful yet.This Message Edited On 07.02.06

sniper
August 17th 2010



18929 Comments


getting now

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

Dryden
August 17th 2010



12928 Comments


is it dark

sniper
August 17th 2010



18929 Comments


it sounds like bm you should check it out

Bouben
January 23rd 2011



21 Comments


deleted

captaincrunch11
September 22nd 2011



1198 Comments


Shit's tite



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