until now, all most of us know about Omega One’s production is what
we’ve heard on a few songs from three Aesop Rock records, some random
joints for underground cats such as Vast Aire and Chase Phoenix, and a
few mixtapes. All of the production he’s been credited with has been
remarkable, the tracks’ sounds frequently breaking away from that of
the albums they appeared on, adding a new and talented voice to the
mix. His first proper full-length, The Lo-Fi Chronicles, is a producer’s record: Cameos are kept to a minimum, and the focus is on samples, scratches and sequencing.
the samples are great, the scratches clean, and the sequencing solid.
But sometimes the execution is messy. “Body Double,” the first song
after the intro, starts with a spoken vocal sample that leads to a nice
bass sequence and the roll-heavy drum loop finally tumbling in. The
loop is nice, but Omega left a bit of silence at its end, and that
fraction of a second is awkward. He may have done it on purpose, but I doubt it.
tracks here include “Off the Horizon,” which smoothly juggles a rolling
organ sample and a few odd flute samples; and “The Hashishin’,” which
collects samples from various eras and regions and plays like an
action-sequence soundtrack in a movie where Roger Moore is trying to
reclaim his 007 title from Sean Connery. The bass work, which is often
a producer’s downfall, is consistently great.
Want It All” features I Self Devine on the vocals. The first chorus
gives a pretty clear picture of the song’s focus: “I want it all, the
money to fulfill my dreams/ I want it all, my own land so I can build
and scheme/ I want it all, a truck-load full of endo-weed/ Is what I
need, shall I proceed?” It’s your standard underground, Muslim, white
friendly, black power, pacifist, gangster thing we should be used to by
now. (Don’t take this the wrong way. I trust any rapper who gets the
money, then gets the land, then gets the weed. Too many of our hip-hop
heroes would get the money, then get the weed and then realize too late
that they have no land on which to store it or enjoy it.) This track,
and “Coup D’Etat,” which features LoDeck and is the only other track
with vocals, would probably fit better on each of those emcees’
the fact that there are some incredible productions showcased here,
there’s little consistency from one to the next, and The Lo-Fi Chronicles is
really just a glorified beat demo. The interludes are begging to be
complete songs, and the songs need room to breathe. With tip-top
technique and sub-par delivery, The Lo-Fi Chronicles would have been great as a mixtape.
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