Obnox: Niggative Approach 12"

Obnox: Niggative Approach 12"

Tags: · 10s · garage · hardcore · hip-hop · weird
12XU Records
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That we’re nearly midway thru 2017 and some segment of the allegedly savvy music world has either slept on Cleveland’s Lamont Thomas aka OBNOX or continues to damn him with some faint “prolific garage rocker” praise is nothing sort of criminal. OK, not WAR CRIMINAL, but certainly a brand of cultural c(r)ock blockery that neither historians or your kids will look kindly upon.

'Niggative Approach' -- a knowing nod to Ann Arbor’s other N.A. (with an opening cameo from John Brannon) is the 7th album in Bim’s astonishing unbeaten streak that began with 2011’s ‘I’m Bleeding Now’ and shows no immediate sign of ending. While Thomas’ past genre-defying works have brazenly taken a torch to such record store bin cards as “punk”, “psych”, “hip hop”, “funk”, “new arrivals” and “MISC. O”, ‘Niggative Approach’ is his most bold, fully realized statement to date. There’s no one in what’s left of the underground with a sharper take on the ties that bind these genres, and no eyewitness to the nation-going-to-shit as quick to stand up and throw down than Obnox. If you wanna settle for half steps, by all means, be our guest, but ’Niggative Approach’ shouldn’t merely challenge you to imagine the possibilities, but maybe even get your hands dirty in making them happen.
(included download code).

"Lamont Thomas takes risks on Niggative Approach, which is pretty standard for him; nothing he’s made as Obnox has ever played it safe. Yet the boldest aspect of this album is how unabashedly hooky it is. Past Obnox albums were more about ebb and flow, alternating catchy jams with shorter jams or abstract interludes. But here Thomas doles out blow after blow, happy to jump quickly from one feel to the next. In less experienced hands this could be a recipe for listener fatigue, but Thomas continually finds new angles, maintaining diversity even as he’s charging full steam ahead. On Niggative Approach, his knack for variety and nuance is the strongest it has ever been." - Marc Masters, Pitchfork

Our take: Obnox has been a name that has been bumping around the edges of my awareness for some time now, and while I’ve heard records in passing and even seen him/them live a few times, I’ve never before actually sat down and tried to engage with his music. Niggative Approach has me rethinking that whole… er, approach… because, man, what a record! This album feels like a world that is completely unto itself, because I’ve never heard anything remotely like it. Attempting an exhaustive list of the influences on this beast would be completely impossible, but the primary ingredients in the stew seem to be classic funk and soul, modern hip-hop production (particularly the shimmery “Chipmunk Soul” sound that was really popular a few years ago and, for some reason, always reminds me of the Love Boat theme), hardcore, psych, and neo-garage. But I’m sure there’s way more to that, and dismissing this album as a mere cross-pollination of genres is something I definitely don’t want to do. Rather, it seems like Obnox is a man with a vision, and he’s able to pull songwriting and production techniques from whatever he feels like in order to realize that vision. The result is something that sounds utterly unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, but if I were to choose a couple of adjectives to describe the music on Niggative Approach they would be “lush” and “trippy.” I’ll refrain from trying to break this down any further, because at the end of the day it is what it is, and if you consider yourself an adventurous listener you should probably check it out.