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Dr. No's Oxperiment ()

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Following in the tradition of other notable producers, Oh No flexes his talent on his third solo release, the beat record Dr. No's Oxperiment. Inspired by and sampled from Turkish, Lebanese, Italian, and Greek psychedelic rock, the album is much more melodic and full-sounding than anything Madlib might do, but Oh No's always been more tune-driven, and less concerned with jolty, sparse beats (though that kind of thing occasionally makes its way here) than his brother, and so looking for Beat Konducta Jr. material here would be a misguided approach. Dr. No's Oxperiment ends up sounding a lot more like a DJ Shadow or RJD2 album than something by Dilla or the Alchemist, the 28 tracks (all of which are under two minutes) working together to complete the whole, a kind of warm, nearly-poppy, guitar-filled trip into Middle Eastern chants, tight bass grooves, and drums that hover beneath the surface. That's one of Oh No's greatest talents, in fact: his ability to mix the different elements of his compositions so that none of them stick out too much but are all completely present, important and perceptible. The kick, the snare, are both there, are keeping the tracks in line, but unless an overt attempt is made to pick them out, they blend so cleanly into the strings, the keys, the vocal samples, that they're sometimes hard to hear. And unlike his brother, Oh No is not afraid of major keys and poppy chord progressions, even occasionally venturing into something that's vaguely catchy, and not just the avant-garde left-field modal wanderings that so dominate Madlib's beats. It's not that Oh No is a less advanced producer than his brother, it's just that he focuses on different things: inclusion instead of obscurity, harmony instead of atonality. Dr. No's Oxperiment is a beat album, that much is sure, but it's more than that, it's more than music for the obsessed crate digger. It's rich and vibrant, like a marketplace, crates of oranges and nuts and olives sitting in the shade, the sound of vendors hacking their wares, everything necessary to the proceedings around it, a perfectly orchestrated expedition into an exotic landscape that somehow, at the same time, feels very, very familiar, all of which makes the record an exciting and very satisfying listen. ~ Marisa Brown, Rovi Hide synopsis

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