KEEP MIN 2 DOT
Wounded Golden Section
(2018 - self release - USA)
A remarkable mathematical (in several ways) puzzle of earthly delights. Heady without question. Since there is math rock, then let us call Hal Dean's debut masterpiece math avant-garde. With a number of tracks (30) that translates to a double album, this is precisely what Hal has plans for. A limited edition double vinyl album. Funds from sales of the download are to aid in just that. These 30 compositions are a display in creative brilliance, that have a gracious amount of twists and spring loaded hops. It could easily fit on the ReR label, with all the polka dot hybrid Jackson Pollock splashed paintings as music. The songs go about like a parade of rogue zombies, except they definitely have a cerebral intent, and have not totally lost their mind (yet).
As for the name of the band, Keep Min 2 Dot was taken from a road sign concept, that seems to appear only on a road going out of Delaware to Pennsylvania, which explains the patches of dots on the road, as being the distance a car should have from one another while driving. Hal explains it in a more academic way but suffice to say, that is where he got the name for the band. It also reminded him of the relation that could easily be on a music score, or experimental music notation. As for the title of the album, well that goes into a deeper realm of early mathematician theories from 13th Century Fibonacci and his Golden Section. In which its series of numbers are found everywhere in nature and mathematics. Artists have been using them as organizing principles for centuries. To perk your interest, Fred Frith said he used Fibonacci numbers to establish beat and harmony for 'Ruins'. So Dean took this concept into his own thinking and gave it added notions. The wounded part is a view of how the natural beauty of our world, that once existed, has been abused and harmed. Gone are the possible utopias that could have been. The story goes deeper and the double album will reward the buyer with a booklet that speaks more of this. It is all a beautiful layout with a bit of humor tossed in at spots.
Howl Din (Hal Dean) plays bass, various guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, double reeds, flute, viola, violin, cello, oud, trumpet, saxophones, drums, percussion, loops, mouth, sounds and/or vocals. (and anything you hear that the other 3 people listed do not play). Hal also produced, recorded (Dave Newhouse sent his parts via File Sharing) , mastered, and composed all of the music. Contributions were by Dave Newhouse (accordion, saxophones, clarinets, and flutes), Nick Millevoi (electric guitar), and Matt Stein (double bass). The recording took place over a period between Spring 2012 thru Autumn 2018, at Sycamore Canopy Studio, Wilmington, Delaware.
The partial list Mr. Dean states as his influences, (and it was only a fraction of what he has been exposed to and fostered by) will allow you to begin to imagine all the facets and doses (small and large) of styles that show up on this very smart and playful collection of compositions. I heard so many delicious things that could compare to favorites like Picchio dal Pozzo, Stravinsky, Samla Mammas Manna, Lars Hollmer, Debile Menthol, Fred Frith and related artists, plus more than I can list here. The notable thing is that the entire recording is so listenable and compelling. Just when the listener thinks the more complex interplay is afoot, a wash of mellotron sneaks in, or sweet string pads. It even gets a bit orbital in spots. If you divert your attention elsewhere, do not be surprised when the music sucks you right back into front and center.
The music is demanding, and although it probably should come with a warning label, "listening to the entire 30 tracks in one sitting may wear your brain out", I declare that everyone needs a good mind exercise. It is clearly a good feeling of exhaustion, the kind that gives you satisfaction that you grew a few more brain cells. After I named this one of my Top Choices for 2018, I have been all too happy to share this with people. Very intellectual and timeless, 'Wounded Golden Section' is overwhelmingly great and ULTRA HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 18 - 2019