Dusted Reviews

Odd Nosdam - Burner

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Odd Nosdam

Album: Burner

Label: Anticon

Review date: Jul. 1, 2005

The glitchy, crackly, pitch-shifted sample of an old country song that begins Burner evokes nothing if not the samples in between the songs on Sebadoh's lo-fi touchstone The Freed Weed. Odd Nosdam's music couldn't be appropriately described as lo-fi anymore, at least not in terms of the equipment that must have been necessary to create it. But if lo-fi can be considered more than simply an adjective that describes sound quality, then Odd Nosdam's music is lo-fi, for sure.

Flash back to the early to mid-’90s, when college radio was ruled by Guided by Voices' Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, Sebadoh's III, and even Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. All three bands wrote great pop melodies (admit it, "The Freed Pig" is a great song), but the mistakes, crappy fidelity and tape hiss that accompanied them weren't incidental parts of their music. All the overloaded mics and out-of-tune guitars added layers of texture to the songs, gave them a kind of modesty, and gave their hooks more staying power because listeners had to work harder to hear them. (The Freed Weed was particularly extreme in all three directions.)

In 2005, Odd Nosdam is doing almost exactly the same thing to (mostly) instrumental hip hop. He clearly knows how to use up-to-date technology now (although he probably didn't a few years ago, when he was making the tracks on the fantastic singles that became Clouddead's self-titled record), but he still buries his songs in crackling field recordings and distorted beats. Lots of hip hop sounds rough-and-ready, sure, but Nosdam's is particularly so; when he gets old, he'll probably enjoy spending time at garage sales.

One thing Odd Nosdam definitely enjoys now is the distortion-heavy shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive (and related, but even noisier, groups like Flying Saucer Attack). This makes sense: lo-fi gestures add texture and make listeners work a little harder to hear the hooks beneath, and layers of distortion and noise do exactly the same thing. With his love of noise-rock and his extreme focus on texture rather than rhythm, Nosdam is most similar to the New Jersey trio Dälek, although Nosdam's beats tend to be a bit bulkier and he seems to approach his music with a psychedelic sense of wonder rather than with Dälek's anger.

A number of guests join in here: Múm's Örvar Smárason stops by on "Small Mr Man Pants" to do some melodica doodling that will sound familiar to fans of his day gig; Mike Patton adds his nasally vocal vibrato to "11th Ave Freakout Pt 2"; and Nosdam distorts Jessica Bailiff's very shoegazery singing on "Untitled Three." Most of the other contributors, though, are buried within Nosdam's layers of noise, which is appropriate. In Nosdam's world, obvious individual paths are usually obscured. That's okay - it's a nice place to get lost in.

By Charlie Wilmoth

Other Reviews of Odd Nosdam

No More Wig For Ohio

Pretty Swell Explode

Read More

View all articles by Charlie Wilmoth

Find out more about Anticon

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.