CD The Unseen [Instrumentals] (CD 841173),
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The Unseen [Instrumentals]
1. Welcome to Violence
2. Bad Character
3. Microphone Mathematics
4. Basic Instinct
5. Goodmorning Sunshine
6. Discipline 99 Pt. 0
7. Discipline 99 Pt. 1
8. Real Eyes
9. Love Class Conspiracy
10. Come on Feet
12. Boom Music
14. Put a Curse on You
15. Astro Black
16. Green Power
17. Jazz Cats
19. Unseen, The
20. Phoney Game
21. Astro Travellin'
22. Axe Puzzles
24. Lord Such's Otomsiauq Outro
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 2026
Personnel includes: Quasimoto, Madlib, Mr. Herb, Medaphoar, Wildchild.
Personnel includes: Quasimoto, Madlib.
Quasimoto's The Unseen is one of the most imaginative albums of the new West Coast underground, a puzzling, psychedelic jazz-rap gem riddled with warped humor and fractured musical genius. Producer Madlib actually outdoes his inventive work on the Lootpack's debut album, Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, crafting deep, dreamy jazz loops littered with found sounds and wiggy vocal samples. Quasimoto's helium-huffing voice is actually Madlib's, electronically altered for an effect not unlike Prince's abandoned Camille project. It might put some listeners off as gimmicky, and it's really a shame if it does, because it isn't really the focal point of The Unseen's left-field brilliance. It's more of an added textural element for Madlib's off-kilter soundscapes and a vehicle for the cartoonish humor hinted at in his choice of samples. The lyrics are highly free-associative (that is to say, stoned beyond belief), and by turns paranoid, threatening, or hallucinatory. But it all melts into the warm, druggy haze of the music; unlike, say, the Wu-Tang Clan or Dr. Octagon, this dream isn't supposed to be a nightmare. Quas' scattershot flow isn't what you'd call technically accomplished, but that's by design -- he's supposed to be fragmented, not quite all there. The song structures are similarly loose, with rhymes coming from nowhere and disappearing just as quickly; the tracks are short (all under four minutes) and end abruptly, as though Quas is too blunted to think of anything else to say. (Madlib does appear as himself on occasion, and usually sounds just as noncommittal as his "collaborator.") Highlights are plentiful, and include the brilliant singles "Microphone Mathematics" and "Come on Feet," the bizarre trash-talking of "Bad Character" and "Put a Curse on You," and the joy-of-music cuts "Return of the Loop Digga" and "Jazz Cats, Pt. 1," which recount Madlib's obsession with record collecting and name-check his favorites. It takes some time to assimilate, but The Unseen gradually reveals itself as one of the most unique and rewarding albums of its era. ~ Steve Huey
Spin (1/01, p.73) - Ranked #17 in Spin's "Top 20 Albums of the Year ".
Spin (10/00, pp.175-6) - 7 out of 10 - "...A giddily disorienting pastiche of warped snaps, resin-caked jazz, and crusty comedy record samples....he puts unpredictable spins on mundane subject matter..."
Alternative Press (10/00, p.107) - 3 out of 5 - "...A monotonous jazzy gray, and it's definitely an acquired taste."
The Wire (5/00, p.65) - "...He sounds perfect....the production is a fazed, dubby take on A Tribe Called Quest styled jazz beats....representing just about everything that makes HipHop great in the two triple zero."
CMJ (1/08/01, p.27) - Included in CMJ's "Best Hip-Hop Albums" of 2000.
CMJ (5/22/00, p.35) - "...Lootpack guru Madlib drops some serious and oddball heat on this side project...loosely based on Melvin Van Peebles' 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song'..."
Melody Maker (8/26/00, p.59) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...If comedy football manager Alan Ball turned his 'unique' vocal sound (think baby Spice with a sore throat) to hip-hop, it might sound like this..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/01, p.22) - "...Witty sonic cut-ups and a homespun attention to detial make THE UNSEEN a treat..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.112) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Madlib has dreamt-up a hip hop anti-hero who will endure."
NME (Magazine) (9/4/00, p.35) - 8 out of 10 - "...One more inspired step into, quite literally, THE UNSEEN....the most addictive record you'll spend your entire summer trying to decipher..."
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