Friday, September 22, 2006

Music that matters

current song- mr. small pants/ Odd Nosdam

Aight, this is one record you can't sleep on, I was so moved by this one I had to write about it. Two words to describe this: fucking unbelievable.

Not long ago there existed a period of time where I listened to nothing but one album. Over and over again I would replay this album and never get tired of it; it was like a drug to me. When I was in class, at work or in any other situation that I was not able to listen to music, all I could think about was this one album and how I couldn’t wait to get home so I could listen to it. I am talking about the great offering from producer/beat maker extraordinaire Odd Nosdam (pronounced Odd Nose-dam) of the intellectually superior and unique conglomerate of abstract rappers, artists, musicians, producers, DJs and poets known as Anticon. For those of you who are not ‘schooled’ in the increasingly popular sub-genre of underground hip-hop and rap, I’ll let you in on a little secret; anything by these folks is guaranteed to be great.

The album I am talking about is Burner. What got me hooked is more a story of happenstance than anything else. Burner had been sitting in my i-pod for about a week before I actually listened to it. Looking back, it makes me sad to think that this incredible work of phonic art sat dormant for so long without me hearing it. What these twelve compelling and beautifully haunting tracks do is paint a picture of life in multiple stages of beautiful turmoil and lofty chaos. Burner is an amazingly crafted aural landscape with dabs of real life throughout the masterpiece leaving you floating along in the world that Odd Nosdam has created. The first time I listened to Burner I didn’t press the pause or stop buttons a single time. I was taking a walk through a desolate part of Richmond, VA and the scenes that I saw fit perfectly with what I was hearing. Certain tracks especially catch me, but of course they are best heard as a whole, they are best heard as Burner. The tracks entitled 11th Ave. Freakout Pt. 1 and 11th Ave. Freakout Pt. 2 work together as a primer for what comes just a few scant minutes later- an eerily calm sounding track called Untitled 3. This song features the mysterious and sexy vocals of Jessica Bailiff. It’s superb. What’s interesting about this track is that you can’t easily understand the lyrics but her vocals seem to function more as an instrument than anything else. The only complaint I have is, even though it clocks in at a healthy six minutes, it seems to end too soon leaving you wanting more.

The scenes that Burner paints are those of urban decay and real life, there is no sugar coated landscape here. It’s taking a walk along the ‘wrong side’ of the tracks and into the industrial parts of the city, along the train tracks and factories and old graffiti covered warehouses. The songs Mr. Small Pants and 11th Ave. Freakout Pt. 2 are walks through the downtrodden parts of the city, along the rows of dilapidated houses and storefront churches where old black ladies sit on their front porches and remember days when things were different. Odd Nosdam seems to find the most interesting things in the most mundane of places. He is able to show the genuine beauty of the inner city, in all its raw, dirty and rough-edged glory. Burner is a passion filled album that is able to generate thoughtful emotion from those that listen to it.


check these Anticon cats out