Growing up trading cassette tape copies of hip hop albums had a profound effect on the sound that Dolenz, aka Neil Andrew purveys. His love for saturation and tape hiss is matched only by the faceless mystery of the artists that directed his sonic and visual persona from an early age.
As a Producer Dolenz first came into prominence with the release of his eight track EP Hysteresis on Sonic Router Records in 2015. Heralded by many as unique, the EP succeeded in introducing his retro-furturistic sound to the world, with Dolenz citing references as varied as Aldous Huxley to MF Doom.
A chance play of his music to drum and bass visionary dBridge, resulted in his signing to Exit Records and the release of his Evesdrop EP in 2017. This further cemented his sound, with Dolenz combining gritty up-front boom bap style drums with stuttering vocal chops, alarming synthesised melodies and throbbing bass. As with Hysteresis, Dolenz continued to explore different tempos the plodding progression of 'Geminus' to the footwork and grime hybrid 'Some Drum'.
His latest project is his album ‘Lingua Franca’, the lead single of which ‘Pull’ features Detroit luminary Guilty Simpson rapping over a sparse industrial beat, with label boss dBridge and Darkhouse Family(First Word Records)on remix duties. It has received support from Giles Peterson and Tom Ravenscroft (BBC6 Radio). The 16-track deep album, Lingua Franca is the soundtrack to an imaginary dystopian sci-fi movie. The film is set on the planet Geminus, which is the sister planet of Earth in another dimension. It provides a glimpse into our own future as Geminus is a century ahed of us, so already at a time where the atmosphere is polluted to the point where it is inhabitable. Industry was monopolised and the main corporations became so big that they became the government which meant that they can do exactly as they please. In Geminus’ case this has led to intensive mining into the planet’s core for a valuable ore that generates energy. In the closing act of the film the main protagonist breaks though a wall in one of the mines to discover a network of tunnels that surround the planet’s core. The sound inside the tunnel is deafening, and he realises that it is the creatures of the planet ‘singing’ to the core which keeps the planet turning, and hence maintains balance. So the basic metaphor for the album is that humans as a species are completely out of sync with Earth, and we could end up destroying it.
A keen radio host, upon moving back to London after living in the Middle East for nine years Dolenz hosted radio shows on NTS and Radar Radio, before founding his monthly Infinite Friends show on Balamii, where he invites international guests to join him in exploring the experimental beat realm.
Dolenz DJ sets are known to move seamlessly through genres and tempos, often turning the crowd on their heads by impulsively cutting into world psych or halftime beats. This eclecticism has led to him being enlisted to provide mixes for Hyponik, Solid Steel, NTS, and Dazed and Confused to mention a few.
Aswell as preparing to perform at various festivals in 2019 he is currently promoting 'Lingua Franca' which was released on Exit Records 17th May.
Photography: Jalal Abuthina