Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Di Dollari - Di Dollari (2003 Album Draft)dotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a draft of the Di Dollari CD from the following year. Some titles were different, and a couple of extra tracks appear. Simply superb!
Picks: North Star, Bluefinger, Dad Gad, Farewell To Cheyenne, Vamos a Matar, Dusty's Gift, Sunflower, Intro, Montana, L'Ultima Tromba, Swampy, Tolex Remnants, Mellow G, Alamogordo Shake, One Of These Days, Boomtown Busted

Track by Track Review


North Star dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Soft keys and harmonica, gentle dry chords, and a rhythm sound that's very lonely. "North Star" progresses slowly across an abandoned cemetery. The drums provide an interesting contrast, especially as the island chords come in. This is an early mix.

Bluefinger dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing tone delivers a relentless chord as the drums and bass rise to join in. "Bluefinger" takes a while to evolve, gradually morphing in the way Neu once did, but with harmonica added. As it evolves, it also elevates energy level. I think the code word here would be hypnotic, but not in the mindless drone sense. There are enough textural and arrangement changes to keep it attractive through out. The lovely island whammy chords and melody lines in the break are superb, perhaps adaptable to being a song unto themselves.

Dad Gad dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"Dad Gad" is a ringing and slightly angular piece with trumpet and long sustain. Its melody riff and rhythm are enticing, but it's the slow pace with echo colliding with trumpet that makes this interesting. This was renamed "Orchard."

Farewell To Cheyenne dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Minneapolis' Di Dollari play "Farewell to Cheyenne" with a trail of the lonesome pine cowboy beat and deliberate coolness. Slow and moody, the track carries the track with interesting textures, but too few changes.

Vamos a Matar dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Great percussion, exotic rhythms, a fast-ish pop song pace, and very rich production. "Vamos A Matar" features tremolo, whammy, and pulsing bass. Emotional, surf implicated, spaghetti sauced, and exceptionally hair raising. This is simply superb!

Dusty's Gift dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Liquid gentle whammy chords and delicate bass notes, as well as haunted harmonica and cymbals open what becomes an engaging spaghetti western style image painter. "Dusty's Gift" is clearly more visual than it is a song, though that's not to say it's not a song. Its gradually evolving structure carries you along like a lazy green river on a summer afternoon.

Sunflower dotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"Sunflower" is a very slow moving piece. Its deliberate pace and long sustain seem at odds, but once the main riff arrives, it gets a slightly psychedelic edge from the distant harmonica that suggests wafting feedback. While very slow, its haunted sound creates a clear image of dawn gently burning through fog.

Intro dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Moody bass brings on swimming chords and a gentle, sort of country gate. Loads of after the storm oceanic imagery and haunted desert harmonica create a very wet sensation. Part way in, a gritty guitar rhythm creates edgy contrast that converts "Intro" to a more powerful and psychedelic epic.

Montana dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"Montana" is a semi-psychedelic painting of an overcast sundown in big sky country. Its gentle pace and textures are soothing, and as it develops textural edge and the intensity swells and ebbs, it brings on the gentle swaying of your inner sailor. Very nice.

L'Ultima Tromba dotdotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"L'Ultima Tromba" is a splendid track, with gnarly psychedelics and exotic percussion. Is that flute and banjo, or just my imagination. The feedback is very artful and cool, like synapses firing out of phase.

Swampy dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"Swampy" is brief and perhaps more pop instro like. It's quite nice, and the textural contrasts are very cool between the guitars. I imagined a song inspired by The Gentrys' "Brown Paper Sack," though that surely would have been at odds with Di Dollari's style. This was renamed "Brown Paper Bag."

Tolex Remnants dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Echo and twang, slow pacing, and low bass call up images of the desert at night, while deliberate drums create a very industrial sense. Hypnotic and sensual, and easy to connect with.

Mellow G dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

The melody here is lovely and spooky in a lonely, vacant meadow kind of way. "Mellow G" has delicate stringed instrumentation, banjo perhaps, and a soft cycling riff. A bit moody. This became "Barranc De Cobre."

Alamogordo Shake dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

Mid tempo traveling motion, haunted harmonica, and dry chords ringing out. "Alamogordo Shake" is not a shake in the old instro meaning of that term, but does have a really nice progression, and sports some delightfully engaging changes. Sad, maybe even sullen, yet optimistic. Very good!

One Of These Days dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

"These Days" is a long epic journey through a haze of mental reduction. So soft and dramatic, with a mercurial structure. Long echoed sustain and airy ambiance, along with distant owl-like feedback, create a late night at The Fillmore experience. Sweeping and profound. The name was shortened to "These Days."

Boomtown Busted dotdotdotdot
Desert Surf (Instrumental)

As the smoke clears from the end of that which was, a hint of tomorrow rises in unreasonable optimism. That might seem an indirect description, but "Boomtown Busted" is a slow and gentle track with transitional imagery. Part way in, it rises above the gentility to embrace a bit of dramatic edge, before returning to its opening dream.