With a little help from their friends

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

ONE of the most surprising albums to emerge this year from the nooks and crannies of the Los Angeles music scene is largely the work of two guys you'd be surprised work together at all.

"Dos," the debut from the Culver City Dub Collective, grew from a love for reggae and bossa nova shared by drummer-songwriter Adam Topol and guitarist-producer Franchot Tone (grandson of the actor). Not that the project came to fruition quickly -- the pair and their A-list collaborators assembled the album, a labyrinthine mesh of island sounds, jazz and electronica, over four years.

"I'm definitely an advocate of making sure every detail is just right, and I'm sure that made Franchot a little crazy," says Topol, who has been Jack Johnson's drummer since 2000. "But having both those personalities in the same room can be great if they can be kind and polite and make compromises."

Mutual admiration helped too. Says Topol: "I'd bring him my ideas and sketches, and he'd make it sound like a beautiful painting."

A lineup of heavy-hitting guests ensured the details were right. Among the credits: Johnson, Ben Harper, Matt Costa, Money Mark, Piers Facini, Joey Altruda, Winston Jarrett (Studio One), Jay Malinowski (Bedouin Soundclash), David Ralicke (Beck), Merlo Podlewski (Dan the Automator) and Koool G. Murder (Eels). Now that's a collective.

What makes "Dos" distinctive is the fusion of modern electronics and classic rhythms. "The sub-bass was one thing that took it from retro into the realm of being a bit modern," Topol says, "although the drums gave it an organic feel."

And when the CCDC plays Saturday afternoon at the Sunset Junction Street Fair? "It'll be a live band playing an electronic record," Topol says. "It's gonna breathe more. But it's gonna be great."


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