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15 July, 2006@12:00 am

   Tadd Mullinix, also known as, Dabrye has no doubt mastered his equipment, garnering swirling melodies, solid sequencing, booming bass and a barrage of blips and bleeps that mesh together as his signature sound. With his latest release, Two/Three, he delivers what you’d expect from a Dabrye record – dark beats that retain the foundations of hip-hop, while giving it a non-cliche futuristic electronic spin.

    The album features an array of emcees, spanning the spectrum from lesser-known wordsmiths, to the industry’s most beloved rap veterans. Regrettably, this formula makes the album not cohesive, swinging back and forth between solid beats that compliment emcees and others that sound awkwardly forced.

   Tracks like “Air” which features fan favorite MF Doom, “That’s What’s Up” with Vast Aire and “Nite Eats Day” featuring Beans all are stellar standouts, weaving entertaining verses with Dabrye’s signature electro-hop production. “They need to get their thumb out their rears/ show some skill the one time they come out in years,” laments Doom, which unfortunately, describes some of the other tracks on this CD.

   “Special” featuring Guilty Simpson and Paradime, “My Life,” featuring AG and “Get Live” with Big Tone all contain dynamic production by Dabrye, but the verses are lackluster containing predictable punchlines, making the listener wish that Dabrye would have left the tracks as pure instrumentals.

   On the subject of vocal-less songs, Two/Three’s high points are when Dabrye’s production breathes without the aid of an emcee. “Machine’s pt.1″ uses a beautiful melody that is reminiscent of a video game soundtrack, wrapped around vibrant claps and thundering bass. Likewise, “Joop” also uses a nice melody, but instead Dabrye melds everything together using a secondary melody that weaves in and out of a traditional break beat rhythm. Other instrumental tracks-most notably “Water”- are mellow, musically sound and make for great driving music, or enjoyable background noise.

    Overall, Dabrye’s latest offering is often weighed down by uninspired emcee guestspots and an occasional lack of change-ups in the production. Yet Dabrye’s endeavor leaves no doubt that he’s a gifted producer who can manipulate his equipment to create moods that are both dizzying and serene. Ending the project with “Game Over”, which features the great Jay Dee and Phat Kat, Dabrye’s final piece to his dark sound collage features a haunting melody that keeps the listener involved, and reflects his uncompromising delivery. Although filled with setbacks, Two/Three’s strong suite is ultimately Dabrye’s production, which only leaves the listener wanting more instrumentals from Mr. Mullinix.

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