This is my favorite band, and although my favorite album is clearly "Yell&Ice" with all it's brilliant guest contributions (Wolf Parade, TV on the Radio, Why?, Dosh, etc.), and my least favorite is "Wishingbone," the ranking of the other albums fluctuates. After listening to well over half of Dose One's output, I am starting to develop a theory. Dose was first most substantially recognized for cLOUDEAD's second release "Ten," which was merely an effort to look back at their first album's collection of seemingly accidental outakes and to make the resultant sound more intentional. In many ways I think he took notes about what worked for him, but also he must have tried to solve the puzzle of what appealed to his fans about that work. Another critical release to notate was Themselves "The No Music." As testament to it's grandeur, he released a remix companion. I can't help but think that in Dose's mind "The No Music" was at least equally brilliant to "Ten," although in some respects it was quite poorly received. So, when he combined Themselves with The Notwist to form the group 13&God, this must have been tremendously gratifying; not only in the fact that an influential (and very cool) German band had been influenced by The No Music, but also he must have felt gratified that the critics were once again in love with his output and pointing to a bright publishing future for his work in general. Next emerged Subtle on Lex Records. Dose effectively shrugged off anxieties about the major label status he ad garnished, by continuing to tell the story he had began in two of his most proud groups: Themselves and 13&God. Subtle was very much business-as-usual for this writer and the characters that had emerged from him, and not only that but this group seemed to be his attempt to recreate the live band aesthetic that had brought about arguably his greatest work in 13&God. He has come most closely to this goal in ExitingArm, with all it's ambient moods and layers of harmonies, but he seemed to have overshot the mark by making something much more grandiose and overproduced, in a sense. That is not to say this release is bad...far from it. In fact it is flawless, but in the scope of Subtle's discography alone, I would say for my tastes ExitingArm falls perfectly in the center, far from the aimless experiemntal meandering of "Wishingbone," far from the awkwardly contrasting song parts of For Hero: For Fool, or the distinct post-folk of Yell&Ice, and much closer to where they began with A New White, except smoothed-over and awash in the kinds of moody atmospherics demonstrated on 13&God. However, what makes 13&God and A New White both distinctly more digestable is their minimalism and the innocence of those moments in time. ExitingArm is not an innocent moment, but rather something so deliberate in it's grand design, and so propelled by a numb wave of tones, that it effectively describes a different time where we all struggle to be confident after a myriad of debilitating collective and personal blows. After seeing The Notwist rise in visibility but be somewhat brow beat by the critics on their latest release, it will be neat to see these two acts reunite in 13&God at this time when they both seem to have exceeded their apex, and seem to be a little unsure about their footing from here on out. That is a great formula for something surprising in the next 13&God release. I could not picture Subtle putting out another album, and I would not be suprised if the remix companion for ExitingArm (assuming one is forthcomming) fulfills their contract with Lex Records. It's all really kind of ironic though, because if you pull out the album "Circle" that he did with Boom Bip way back in his early career (when critics first met and loved him), and then you compare it to cLOUDEAD that he did with Od Nosdam, and then compare that to his work with Jel in Themselves, you can see this mechanism of experimenting with different almost companion-style producers (meaning drum machine wizards). He must have hit a sweet spot with Jel, because he has stuck with him through Themselves, 13&God, and now Subtle. It's like a refinement process of finding the right producer and then finding the right band. Surely Subtle is the highest refinement in Dose's mind, though in my mind it was 13&God in the way it crawls with a very eerie kind of sorrow and the way it's parts fit together to be both blended and distinct. However, if anything I have said makes you not want to purchase ExitingArm, then you are missing my point. In fact, I recommend you look up Dose One's whole discography on Amazon or Wikipedia and add a few to your christmas list every year until you have the whole thing...it could take you a while.