Odd Nosdam Level Live Wires

[Anticon; 2007]

Styles: instrumental hip-hop not afraid to be what it is
Others: cLOUDDEAD, Alias, Helios, Nobody, Daedelus, Rjd2 before, you know…

As fun as it is to expand, explore, and exert experimentalism with each new record, Odd Nosdam knows a thing or two about flow; he knows so much, in fact, that his latest record, Level Live Wires, is almost a pitch-perfect continuation of 2005’s Burner. I can barely distinguish one from the other, nor do I feel any iota of contrast is Nosdam’s purpose. Instead, he’s trusting his instincts rather than foolhardily trudging so far out to space that he can’t find his way home.

And so, it is again appropriate to stick a few Post-It Notes on your listening-room’s corkboard before I, once again, recommend an Anticon act:

- If you deign to call ‘instrumental hip-hop’ a friend of yours, Level Live Wires will only, in your mind, justify your hatred of the genre.

- If you consider yourself a trend-hopper, you’ll likely find that Nosdam doesn’t fit into your schedule; in fact, in L.A. a few months back, I found that Anticon resembled a sort of dated, I-knew-who-they-were-three-years-ago joke.

- If you are an impatient listener, Level Live Wires won’t do enough for you by the time your stopwatch is done ticking.

- If you crave rapping, look elsewhere; only a track or two boast the presence of verbals.

- As mentioned above, if you’re hoping for ‘next-level’ artistic growth, you’d do well to stick with Subtle’s For Hero: For Fool.

- If you find that murky, inhospitable beats, a veritable sound parade of effects and loops, and, most importantly, a flawless knack for flow – basically Absence-era Dälek without the rapping – Level Live Wires will be an absolutely perfect fit for you.

There you have it. For all its arguable shortcomings, I can’t find a single flaw with Level Live Wires; I can’t even find an unappealing track. Its close resemblance to past material knocked its grade down a few pegs, but if you disagreed with the first points above and agreed with the sixth, Odd Nosdam’s latest should absolutely, positively find its way into your deck. (And if you haven’t checked out Passage or Nosdam’s other band, cLOUDDEAD, you probably should immediately.)

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