Dollarstore Keyboard - Live from the Dollarstore


With as deep, introspective, artsy, and abstract as unconventional indie music can be sometimes, it is a great pleasure of mine to hear something that sounds genuinely fun and playful. This is Live from the Dollarstore by Dollarstore Keyboard. It is a highly improvisational collection of three separate live sets that is skillfully presenting itself as an album. Which sounds like something that should feel disjointed and kind of glued together, but instead flows together smoothly as a whole.

The tone and pace of each track vary, but the general theme that holds it together is eclectic percussion and synths that meld and merge to form the strangest combinations. Starting out on the first track, we are presented with what feels like a pretty straightforward minimal house rhythm that is accompanied by synths that seem to be on the darker side. As the album moves into the next track, this rhythm becomes progressively more erratic until it floats into the third track "Gil Pender Remix." Here, we get a wildly swinging breakbeat that comes along with some key-like synths that carry a repetitive sort-of melody.

While Dollarstore Keyboard gravitates towards these energetic breakbeats and house-focused rhythms, we also get a slightly head-spinning slowdown on "Swarm to Secrecy" with its more lo-fi hip-hop-oriented rhythm and climbing scale melody. This slow down is short-lived though as we are thrown right back into the breakbeat-inspired fun with "Cat Mana."

As I said, the thing that really drew me into the album is just the fun and improvisational tone of the album. On first listening, this might sound strange since much of the synth work has a darker and mellower tone. However, listen again and try to notice just how all over the place things are. Breakbeat going into house rhythms and then going into slowed down lo-fi beats then back and forth all over again. Meanwhile, Dollarstore Keyboard continues to bring in all kinds of weird and almost nonsensical synths in an incredibly freeform manner. This represents a fantastic job of incorporating rhythms and melodies that don't sound like they should not go together but then somehow manage to fit together splendidly.


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