Label: Beneath The Surface Music
Release Date: Feb-19-2002
There's no doubt that Omid has already secured his place in the books of Westcoast hip hop. It took him to do the compilation Beneath The Surface. And what sounds like a simple task, actually stands as one of the best compilations slash producer albums of all time. Yes it's that good and yes it's that classic. But it was also just that. Because after its release, Omid started to write a new chapter with his collaborations with people like Scarub, Freestyle Fellowship and 2Mex. Those loosely spread songs worked like the Chinese water torture, each signifying another drop in the agonizing waiting period before the next big splash.
Meaning the next album. That however is out now and it's called Distant Drummer. And the most obvious difference to Beneath The Surface is, that Omid keeps it instrumental (with the exception of "Ways Of The World" where Nikko sings). But the second look will demask that musically Omid has also moved on. A lot of those mystic, spacey, Mayan, sunset structures were left behind. Only a lot however, as they are still present in much of this music. However, there's more other things that Omid found creative expression in.
With a microcosmos existing in "The Sad King", that in the path of a few minutes contains a lot of different speeds, ideas and emotions. This is also the most extreme of schizophrenia that Omid allows. And "At-one-ment" then sounds like he's catching his breath. But it also sounds like a moment of hurt bliss, evoked when you stare at the city lights over a supposed to be black night sky. This melancholy of this song and "Healing Bassics" is brushed away with the happy "Musical Chairs", where playful xylophone sounds mix grays into the prevented black and white picture. The oriental spicing of "Ease In The Middle Piece" then adds color, while the crystal glistening of "Endymion" and "Shreem" rubs shoulders with the electronica "Cluster Tech", before the pessimism is deconstructed in the echo chambers of "Blue Android" and "Life At The Griffith Park Observatory".
With the jazzy "Ways Of The World", as said sung by Nikko and featuring scratches by DJ Drez, Omid proves that he didn't forget how it is to work with vocal contributors. But this album, unlike many other instrumental albums, doesn't desperately gasp for an emcee or singer. There are a lot of dense structures that even give away that these songs were constructed with the emcee being forbidden to enter the back of the producers head. And this complex work does not always make it easy to approach the songs. Instead they exist as a moment of inspiration, in a way distinctively LA, in a way, distinctively out of this world, that you may step in or not. But they always are in many ways an impressive next step for the artist they used to call OD.
1. The Sad King
3. Musical Chairs
4. Healing Bassics
5. Island Covenant
6. Ease In The Middle Piece
8. Blue Android
9. Cluster Tech
11. Ways Of The World
12. Live at Griffith Park Observatory