Sunday, July 9, 2017

REVIEW - DogTablet: Outlaws & Strays

Best known for his time with percussively perverse Industrial pioneers Test Dept and the revolving-door nuthouse that is Pigface, London-based drummer Martin King made a jaw-dropping return to the American stage (or, more accurately, to the floor - as seen in the photo below) last November when he was one of the 30-plus musicians to participate in the two Pigface 25th anniversary shows that took place in Chicago over the Thanksgiving holiday. King’s appearance marked the end of a stateside dry spell that began shortly after his involvement in Pigface’s 1998 tour (immortalized on the brilliant live album Eat Shit You Fucking Redneck), the end of Test Dept and the release of his excellent 1999 solo album Orange (released on Martin Atkins’ Invisible Records under the name Subgenius.)

Martin King takes it to the crowd during Pigface's 25th anniversary show at the House of Blues - Chicago, 11/25/16. (Photo credit: Nathan Vestal) 

For his first album in 18 years, King has teamed up with musical partner Robeto Soave (whose career has included stints with The Associates, Presence with Cure co-founder Lol Tolhurst and Shelleyan Orphan with the late Caroline Crawley) for Outlaws & Strays, the stellar debut full-length release from their project, DogTablet.  

Roberto Soave of DogTablet (Photo source:

Considering that DogTablet describe their purpose as “creating and producing soundtrack and production music and the occasional commercial release,” it comes as very little surprise that the album’s overall mellow, Morcheeba-meets-The Orb vibe works extremely well as cinematic background music (or as an at-home chill-out playlist, for that matter.) Musically, Outlaws & Strays floats on the calmer musical waters of Orange and Totality-era Test Dept and offers little hint of the sonic sledgehammer of some of King’s other work (although those who like things a bit grittier will surely enjoy the Pigface-esque tom-tom workout on “Drill Bit.”) 

The album’s many highlights include “It Becomes Us” (especially the incendiary drum madness that kicks in at 1:04), the exquisite “MiddleEast Ender” and the slow-burning “Two Senses” (which is accentuated by some truly sinister bass playing). Naturally, the beats and percussion on the album are fantastic – and solid proof that the best Trance/Techno rhythms can only come from the mind of a bona fide drummer. It’s great to hear King back in album-making mode again (as 18 years is far too long to wait for new sounds from someone with his level of skills), while fans of Soave’s past work (including Presence’s highly recommended Inside) will be delighted to hear how relevant and impressive his creativity is in the present tense.

Martin King of DogTablet (Photo source:

The King/Soave partnership has created one of the year’s finest albums and reminder of the many talents that have made these two musicians true industry survivors and continual innovators. Here’s to hoping that Outlaws & Strays is the beginning of an era of long and fruitful output from the duo.

Outlaws & Strays is out July 10. Go to DogTablet’s Facebook page for purchase info.


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