Odd Nosdam T.I.M.E. Soundtrack

[anticon.; 2009]

Styles: instrumental hip-hop with a dash of folk-hop
Others: cLOUDDEAD, Boards of Canada

Coming two years after the release of the skateboard film for which it was commissioned, Odd Nosdam’s T.I.M.E Soundtrack finds him returning once more to the spacey mid-tempo hip-hop style he’s been honing since the release of cLOUDDEAD’s seminal debut (for which he provided much of the production work). On this release, while not breaking any particularly new ground, Nosdam pushes his signature style into an ever-so-slightly crisper area: its boom bap beats slightly less fuzzed-out, its synth washes slightly more defined, and its melodies rendered a little more distinct, a little more fully fleshed-out. Songs are fairly short, uptempo, and to the point, and Nosdam introduces a couple of textural and rhythmic ideas, plays around with them for a few minutes, and moves on.

This cleaner approach is most evident when Nosdam incorporates elements of the folk-hop style that has become a signature of a number of anticon. artists such as WHY? and Buck 65. On tracks like "Fly Mode," which showcases a neat little guitar melody and a playful whistle, Nosdam strikes a confident balance between his ambient tendencies and his more overt melodic proclivities. But such moments are delivered as though they were offhand thoughts, displaying the album’s strong tendency towards a relaxed, nonchalant air, with most sounds enveloped in a warm and inviting fuzz smoothing out the contours of his sound. It all makes for a pleasant sonic environment, but there’s not a lot of textural or emotional complexity for the listener to grab onto, its agreeable airiness veering slightly towards fluff.

That said, maybe that’s the point. T.I.M.E Soundtrack is the sort of breezy record seemingly designed to enhance the mood of a moment while unconcerned about whether or not anyone notices the presence of the music itself once its playing, a fact likely indicative of its soundtrack origins. Perhaps it’s best to approach this sort of record as a subtle and benign mood-altering drug -- on its own, it’s a little dull, but combine it with the appropriate activity, and it might provide everything with a rosier tinge. In many ways, its difficult to find fault with a so resolutely congenial album, but it's also hard not to wish for a bit more from an artist who went a long way towards pushing the boundaries of hip-hop in his other projects.

1. Zone Coaster
2. T.I.M.E. In
3. Cop Crush
4. We Bad Apples
5. Trunk Bomb
6. Top Rank
7. Fly Mode
8. Ethereal Slap
9. Root Bark
10. One for Dallas
11. Root Loop
12. Wig Smasher
13. T.I.M.E. Out

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