Doseone: G Is For Deep

On G Is For Deep, Doseone goes for a take on synth-pop that veers between being worringly eccentric and, er, crazily audacious. Then again, Doseone has always been a wild-card, and this might be his wildest album yet.


G Is For Deep

Label: Anticon
US Release Date: 2012-07-02
UK Release Date: 2012-07-02

Adam Drucker is the least likely of all possible pop stars. Under the moniker Doseone, he’s best known in the world of “underground hip-hop” (if that even means anything anymore). In fact, as co-founder of the hip-hop label Anticon, he has helped to found some of these leftfield groups in the first place. He’s a weird prospect. Sometimes his hip-hop is all obtusely poetic and wildly unsellable, and sometimes his hip-hop sounds just about normal enough for you to feel comfortable banging your head to it. Either way, his signature style – delivering anxiously, perplexing lyrics over frazzled breakbeats – continues on G Is For Deep, his first “proper” solo outing for some years. However, G Is For Deep drops the grubby glow of the DIY purism, and nostalgia for hip-hop’s Golden Era, exhibited in his early work. In its place, Doseone goes for a rather eccentric, worrying take on synth-pop – he moans, intones and whines like a clinically depressed barbershop singer all over squelchy, oddly shaven beats and clipped, choppy synths. And somehow, just somehow, it sounds seriously funky.

There are moments on G Is For Deep where Doseone indulges in things like accessible melodies and banging beats. Well, kind of; they’re accessible in the same way as, say, Neptune. Just check the nightmare neuro-funk of opener “Dancing X” or “End & Egg” or “Thy Pattern”. If you try hard enough, you can imagine Dose’s creepy falsetto as coming out of the mouth of Pharrell Williams, or The-Dream or something. Sort of. You’ve gotta try pretty hard. And if you try hard enough, you might even scare yourself into thinking that you could blast G Is For Deep out of a car stereo and not get sneered at by the bigger boys. But it is hard work, and you’re only ever gonna find those merrie melodies after making the effort to burrow your way through all of the frayed, mangled sounds. Then again, how are you gonna trawl through the thick electronic haze that fills out the sound on “OwlShark”? Here, the chorus embodies the central paradox of this record: some of this stuff is pure sing-along pop, but, yes, scratch the surface and you find yourself teetering on the edge of oblivion. Just look at the jiggling synth disco shapes on “Dancing X” or “The Bends”, where he sounds like a subterranean homesick Justin Timberlake, or the awkward sine-wave synth-pop of “I Fall”.

As ever, Dose’s lyrics are freaky-deaky beat poetry and their subject-matter really rather worrying – take as an example his description of his own anxious guilt as "a fearsome church built from black stone" on “Therapist This”. Basically, even though it shares some of the formal qualities of certain chartbusting records, it isn’t going to allow you to confidently strut into, er, "da club", or live out any porno R&B fantasies. However, it does go to show that these sort of barenaked neuroses are totally acceptable in some quarters of pop music these days, and Doseone shares more with Kanye West than you might have first thought.

G Is For Deep collapses at least some of the categories that we’d usually use to bracket and judge pop music. But could a description of music as, say “avant-pop” ever really mean anything? Who knows, but how else could this record sound like Prince and Fever Ray at the same time? How, or why, else would the recommendations for further listening on critics’ Bible include Björk, The Beastie Boys, Gloria Estefan, Donna Summer, and 1990s Irish boyband Westlife? Baffling, huh? Well, whatever, it sure tells us one thing – Doseone is, and always has been, a wild-card, and the crazy audacity he shows on G Is For Deep might just make it his wildest album yet.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.