Introverted house music.
Anderson's distinct voice as a producer manifests in Rainbow Doll's moodboard: dreamy yet melancholic and unsettling, tender yet aloof, trippy and stoic. On "Beside Me," for instance, Anderson evokes an otherworldly mysticism with plaintive vocals that haunt a sonic tundra of shivering loops and falling-icicle keys. (His voice has the same effect on "Cindy.") The album also draws from Anderson's usual palette of sounds—soft and subby kicks, Detroit pads and classic drum machine hats or rimshots arranged in Chicago house patterns. That might seem a little trite, but Anderson's arrangements and emotional vibe keep things interesting.
Tracks like "Live It" and "Beside Me" are so spaced-out that they feel borderline antisocial, introspective to the point of solipsism. Rainbow Doll may be one of his most DJ-unfriendly records to date. His tracks often start on an off-beat ("Bounce With Me"), or the different parts intersect in a way that makes it hard to identify the downbeat. No matter how many times I listen to "Heaven Help Us," the kick always surprises me, and changes the pulse I had imagined.
Decisions like this make Anderson's music artistic and personal. It also means that it's difficult to integrate into a DJ set. That's partly because the catatonic mood is so dominant, and partly because the arrangement makes them tricky to mix and partly because none of the rhythms are straightforward or meaty. That does, however, make his intricate loops excellent layers that can inject a weird energy or create a memorable moment without bringing down the mood.