Transhumanism –  Mr Dog The Bear (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Why make noise when you can manipulate silence? And odd thing to say perhaps but if anybody can make a noise (and they pretty much can)  trapping silence inside exquisite sonic bubbles take a whole different set of skills. But that is what Mr Dog The Bear continues to excel at. Already you could level an accusation of my writing erring on the side of pretentious, and not for the first time, but some music just makes you reach for very “out there” ways of describing things. When presented with three, middle-class white kids with guitars and an extensive Oasis record collection, such predictable and everyday music can be described in predictable and everyday terms. The sort of music made by Mr Dog The Bear requires whole different approaches.

Trepanation opens the album with its most drifting and non-corporeal sounds before A Tribute to Victims hems in those hazy sonic forms with a clinical beat and chiming, minimalist piano lines. And it is such a transition from one to the other which seems to show the processes at work, the use of sonic structures to encompass the space and understatement, a use of music to create mere demarkation between the sound of the natural world and those of the studio. The purposefully created music creates an addictive platform but hat lies between, the rolling atmospherics, the fading notes, the growing anticipations are the real gold here.

From here Underneath Your Skin adds vocals, a rare thing in the Mr Dog The Bear world, affected, disembodied and futuristic, Sunshine is built on drama and dynamic between brooding back beats to soaring crescendos and the curiously name Engineer is a slow burning salvo of post-rock. Things end where they began in the slow, ambient electronica of The Diderot Effect, a slice of Vangelisian cinematics…subtle, filmic, beguiling and gorgeous.

As always Mr Dog the Bear makes music for the sake of it. There is no full band that I know of, no live shows, no genre to stick too, no hidden agenda and seemingly no long term plan. But if these or other tracks from this shadowy outfit ever turned up on the end credits of a cult film or driving the action of a Hollywood blockbuster then far from being surprised by such a turn of events, I for one would be thinking why did that take so long to happen?

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