Welcome to the future; an age where machines make everything simple, a time when the human need not exercise skill or original thinking where a computer can do the job instead. This philosophy applies to so many aspects of life, but perhaps none more so than dance music. When presets, sample packs and templates prevail, where is there room for expression, for personality, for danger? Thank your lucky dancing shoes then for artists such as dOP - three vibrant personalities with the musical abilities to express themselves in the most unique and human of ways.
It may be that you stumbled across their early singles when they were still defining their sound in the realms of house and techno, finding a way to translate their respective gifts for percussion, woodwind instruments and a honey-coated voice into something that made sense on the contemporary European dancefloor. It may be that you got swept up in one of their incendiary live sets, where the art of genuine performance in the here and now blasts any notion of ‘email-checking’ laptop nerds out of the water in a melee of joyous, raucous party energy. Either way, it would be a particularly blinkered electronic music fan that could have missed them up until now, for the release and gigging schedule of these three childhood friends would make a mere workaholic blush.
dOP have certainly been recognized for their services to the beat, as revered German magazine De:Bug listed their debut album ‘Greatest Hits’ as one of the best of 2010, while they were championed for their live show three years in a row by readers of Resident Advisor. However, dOP’s work doesn’t stop at the end of the night, as their other projects belie.
With another vocalist, Brian Brewster, they have started the Aquarius Heaven project. Where the music of dOP whips around in a flurry of jazzy moods and a very French sense of mischief, Aquarius Heaven explores the depth and space of dub-rooted music. There is still a dancefloor sensibility at play here, but it’s the vibe that draws you inwards rather than the one that pushes you outwards.
If ever proof was needed of the diversity that comes with a group like dOP, their latest venture Les Fils du Calvaire would be it. Rejecting the notion of dance music completely, the trio will be joined by an additional drummer and guitarist for a purely folk-led project, with all the lyrics sung in French. Whatever the boundaries are, that same flair that makes their other output so addictive will be present in abundance.
It’s surprising to think that it was only four years ago that dOP first crept onto the scene with their flamboyant style of house music, so much have they achieved in the time that has passed since. Yet it’s also heartening to know that there is so much more to come from three unstoppably creative minds that combine the awkward bedfellows of serious musicianship and fun so naturally.