dmGida‘s music falls into a category that’s so small, it doesn’t have a name. For review purposes, we’re calling it electronic, but a more proper name might be “ghostly gothic beats”. The Boston producer’s debut EP comes across as the bastard love child of Portishead and The Caretaker: a slow churn of atmosphere, dread, and yes, even hope. Such a blend is suggested by the moniker, which seems like an abbreviation of “doom” and the Bhagavad Gita.
It’s easy to stitch components together; just ask Victor Frankenstein. But it’s harder to give a creation a soul. This sonic scientist scavenged the streets of Boston after hours, bargaining for scraps of piano, sampled footsteps, 78 r.p.m. loops, snatches of choir, threads of voice, and slow, steady beats (60-80 r.p.m.). And then he started to knit and sew. In lesser hands, the mix might have been catastrophic. In this instance, it’s as romantic as the cover sculpture implies, with hidden layers of meaning. Bells and chains haunt these tracks, a constant reminder of another plane. Are angels breaking through the clouds, approaching to claim lost souls? Do they carry scepters or swords? Will anyone be spared?
We chose “Birthday” for our ACL Singles Chart last week, but any of these tracks would have worked. “Birthday” boasts deep bass and drum samples, a pair of haunted vocal loops and a sense of intrigue; but “the Grdn” (the Garden?) offers a more angelic vocal at the beginning, joined by an antique song snippet at the end. A similar balance is achieved on “Autodafé”, which makes sense as the title refers to an act of public penance before burning. The female vocalist is either Lisa Gerrard or someone very similar. “Mourning” and “White Lady” slow the pace considerably. One can imagine a veiled mourner passing beneath the sickly light of a gas lamp. Only on the closing “(psychic dreams for everyone)” does the tempo increase, like a heart coming back to life or a slumberer returning to wakefulness. In the midst of life, we are in death. (Richard Allen)