Themselves The No Music

[Anticon; 2002]

Styles: underground hiphop, electronica, alternative rap
Others: cLOUDDEAD, El P, Reaching Quiet, DJ Shadow

The Anticon duo of Doseone and Jel follow-up their self-titled debut from 2000 with this work entitled The No Music. When listening to this album you're immediately hit with layers of dense, mutilated samples, drones, and double-tracked vocals. At first, it's a lot to swallow, but this is an album that demands attention in order to appreciate it.

For those unfamiliar with Dose, he’s one of the most versatile vocalists in music today. His delivery goes from rapid-fire brutality to down-tempo crooning at any given moment, easily adjusting to any change within the beat. He does this as often as he changes his tone, going from nasal to James Earl Jones-deep all within the same song. The lyrics dose catapults at the listener are highly subjective. The overall theme of his neurosis is prominent on this album, and the beauty is in relating to a sentence that seeps through the madness.

Themselves wouldn’t be so successful if it weren’t for Jel’s production. With possibly the tightest and most innovative drum programming in the business, Jel provides the erratic and ambient backdrops for dose to perform on. The track “Mouthfull” also gives us a taste of Jel the rapper, as he lends a few choice words in between Dose’s chaos.

“Good People Check” is possibly one of the most original and honest diss songs of the last decade. A funky horn sample propels the most straightforward rap song Dose has done in years on “Dark Sky Demo.” After that, the album dips in punch for a couple songs before “Hat In the Wind,” featuring drum work by Jon Herndon of Tortoise, emphatically ends the album. The listener needs to take the time to digest this album fully, but once they do, they’ll realize nerd-rap has never sounded so tough.

1. Home : Work
2. Mouthfull
3. Good People Check
4. Poisonpit
5. Live Trap
6. Only Child Explosion
7. Paging Dr. Moon Or Gun
8. Dark Sky Demo
9. You Devil You
10. Out In the Open
11. Hat In the Wind

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