Amidst a Young Coyotes’ hiatus, Zach Tipton donned the moniker I Am the Dot and has since been steady releasing a series of terse EPs. Both strange in arrangement and approach, the EPs are replete with multi-layered tracks that run the musical gamut from eerie to comforting. His latest outing, Minimal Love, stays true to the title (and series) with three tracks running just under thirteen minutes of self-proclaimed “healing music.”
The title track opens to backing piano and Tipton’s upper range tenor vocals. The foundation melody gives way to strange clicks and clanks and instead of simply keeping rhythm the gruff percussion resides along side the vocal delivery. “The Golden Spiral” begins demurely with bass plucks, slight snare taps and tinkling piano before opening up to a myriad of soundscapes: the foreground vocals a la Death Cab, eerie keys and nuanced electronica in the form of squeaks and chimes. Finishing up the breadth of the tracks is “Mark Twain” with its ubiquitous, soul-ish backing vocals, staccato percussion (once again at the foreground) and intermittent chimey, electronica elements. The acoustic strums and Tipton’s vocal delivery move the song along as the myriad of sounds creep from seemingly nowhere.
There is nothing stagnant about Tipton’s songs. They don’t play out; they evolve. As soon as the listener is comfortable with the foundation melody, more nuances are added to the mix creating lush layers of sound and instrumentation. There is a certain “quirk” to Tipton’s approach to songwriting, a certain “Je ne sais quoi” as the tracks unwind to the aforementioned eeriness or comfort. But amidst the strangeness, they maintain a signature that belongs solely to him and probably couldn’t be replicated with the staunchest of effort.
by Chris West[Rating: 3/5]