Local Wire

Oh No

The 2006 album Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms found Oh No sampling only from Galt MacDermot's musical theater scores. In doing so, he discredited the theory that says pulling loops from one well yields rigid results — Exodus stings in champion pairings and expert compositions. Less than a year later, a collection of 28 raw, indisputably singular tracks will have beatheads smitten with Dr. No's Oxperiment, if not for its mood shifts (nothing breaches two minutes here), then for the compelling story behind the breaks. Egon, co-head of Stones Throw and founder of companion label Now-Again, handed Oh No some Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese psych and garage sources, and the all-instrumental outcome makes public a production ear that blatantly rivals its praised contemporaries. From afar, cuts like "Bouncers" and "Banger" seem readied for Oxnard's MED to spit over, but the kick-drum muscle backs a mesh of swirls and looming coded vocals that needn't be overshadowed. Good studio headphones make the best format for Dr. No's playback, because alongside all the Middle Eastern strings, flutes, and car-chase guitar riffs, hearing even the unfiltered vinyl hiss seems critical.
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Dominic Umile