If you search for Dogs++ (Dogs Plus Plus) anywhere, you might get sidetracked looking at pictures of dogs for a while. While a nice consolation prize, I’m sure Hoodie would have been furious if I just posted dogs everywhere. Fortunately, I totally resisted all temptation of diving into pictures and videos of adorable doggos, and got right into focusing on Inkblot Butterfly, the latest album from Dogs++ (previously known as Powersupply.)
Something to note is that this album starts out with a very loyal and respectable cover of ‘Door Hinge Orchestra’, originally composed by 4mat of Anarchy (as he wished to be called according to the modarchive page.) In the past I would have considered this a bit of a bold statement. Doing a cover of someone else’s work in a faithful-to-the-original manner can either give someone false expectations or ruin the balance of a cohesive theme to the album. Instead, this cover showcases the overall vibe of this album. ‘Inkblot Butterfly’ is an upbeat album with plenty of melodic exposition as well as a bass that has a very active participation in the harmony besides just laying down the root note. It encompasses a vibe of an album made with passion found from influences from all over.
While all fifteen tracks have their own distinctive sound, there’s an obvious dichotomy of two themes for the album. The first is a semi-mellow instrumental hip-hop, while the other seems to be any mix of genre put to different swing beats of varying tempos. Each song is well-constructed and has an excellent balance between exposition and repetition, making them easy to follow along to. I would categorize this as an album to have in your collection for background productivity music. There are some tracks that would be a bit on the abrasive side for that, notably in the intro to ‘Blue 60’, or the dogs barking in ‘Dog Club’, both shifting regularly in pattern enough to demand your attention. That, and since this is nearly strictly LSDJ (as in it uses a very little bit of reverb in post on some tracks,) the instrumentation doesn’t pan well aside from three options, leaving many sounds feeling like they’re fighting each other for your attention.
To be fair, ADHD and focus don’t always go hand-in-hand, and as of the time I listened to this album there was a lot of that causing me to have to listen to the album over and over. Fortunately, and good for you to know, this album is a solid listen and enjoyable to put on repeat. It has a lot of tracks that feel reminiscent of earlier late-2000’s chipmusic pieces that weren’t trying to recreate the next big club banger, but more of a soundtrack for your mind to imagine. In that sense, ‘Inkblot Butterfly’ not only lives up to its name metaphorically, it’s technically as cohesive as much as it isn’t. This is a gem that I wouldn’t have expected to show up, but here we are with its awesome album art reminding me of the imaginative styling of chipmusic that got me interested in the medium to begin with.
While you can download each track for free, $5 USD gets you all the LSDJ .sav files for the album along with some album art that didn’t make the cut and a special note from Dogs++. What does it say? Go head over to Dogs++’s Bandcamp and find out on your own.