Take the brother of one of most innovative producers in contemporary hip hop, a prolific composer's repertoire, a bunch of friends, and what do you get? Oh No's Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms, a 22-track album with beats taken solely from the work of Galt MacDermot (the composer of Hair, among other things) and with emceeing mainly coming from Stones Throw labelmates and other indie hip-hop stalwarts, including Cali Agents and Posdnuos. As is the case on most of the label's releases, Oh No's production outweighs the rapping not that the rhymes are bad, they're just more predictable than the angular, fractured string and horn samples and hollow drums that he employs in setting the background to his strange urban musical. The producer (whose older brother is the bizarre Madlib) splices and twists MacDermot's compositions into quirky, looping pieces that pay tribute to the originals while still asserting Oh No's own style. From the Dilla-esque "T. Biggums" to the dark, rolling "Get Mines," it's an intelligent, interesting record straight through, and though Oh No's actual speaking voice is only heard three times, he and his opinions are clearly heard in the beats. And when opinions sound as good as they do on Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms, they're louder than words.
Marisa Brown writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.