US-based electronic producer Dot apparently works as a classically trained opera singer and composer, but this debut download-only EP on Alpha Pup Calliope showcases a distinctly different side of her creative output, with its stylistic roots falling firmly in leftfield beats and stripped back hip-hop. It’s also easily one of the most unexpectedly genre collisions I’ve heard in recent months. As both the title and sleeve art suggest, the conceptual theme is the dark carnival, with the seven tracks collected here fusing stripped down electronics with haunted circus organ instrumentation, resulting in an ominous atmosphere that’s as alluring as it is creepy.
The opening title track sets the scene early as eerie carnival organs chime in focus against violin plucks, the melodic motifs suddenly accelerating into dizzying spirals as crunching Daedelus-esque beats lock into place, the entire track speeding off into a whirl of orchestration, before ‘Artichoke’ pushes the wobbling sub-bass and clicking snare programming to the forefront in the one moment here that flirts with dubstep, the entire track slowing down to half-pace against glittering synths in what resembles a sudden dub rewind. Elsewhere, ‘Desert Storm’ conjures up dark glittering electro atmosphere as Moroder-meets-Tangerine Dream synths creep icily against clicking beats, while ‘White Noise’ sees clock chimes being pitched down gradually against clicking percussion, the metallic tones seemingly becoming blurred with reverb as they trail alongside wailing, ghostlike synth wobbles. An impressive and distinctive debut EP that certainly succeeds in following a different sort of muse to the rest of the leftfield hip-hop pack.