Proudly bearing its loopy plumage from the get go, Oh No Nuno! (a.k.a. Ian D. Hawgood) tackles the hip-hop/electronica genre like a kid playing hop-scotch over an oversized map of the London Underground. He jumps and twirls, skips and zig zags, over a sharp and dynamic abstraction of the city.
The beats are tight and often quirky, the hooks are bright and always memorable, the ambient washes have the colour of treasured polaroids. If you're familiar with the genre you wont be surprised by the build-up technique of these songs, the self-assembling clockwork which gathers layer upon layer and then sheds them off to leave the bare heart of the music beating over the twilight colours. But the ideas themselves sound striking and fresh, even after their time on the merry-go-round; "The Everyday of Us" manages to fit sweet pop musings a la Pet Sounds inside a breakbeat exercise tauter than a rattlesnake; "The Gentle Robot" starts like a catchy collage made of blue skies and summer sunlight, funky dream music for a cool cat walk down an imaginary California street that subtly veers off into a ghostly vacant lot populated by discarded toys, a 5-note danceable nostalgia slowly fading away into an ambient vibe equal to the Bugs Bunny pajamas you wore when you were 6 and that your mom has kept on the bottom of a chest like some sacred relic. Not to be missed either is "Dusty Piano Inside", soul food cooked slowly at first with warm organ sounds painting the blues orange, then set loose with a beat which is nailed to the floor with machine gun bass drums, a supremely fun vehicle for the dazzling piano phrases which shine at the center of the composition.
All in all, a noteworthy debut for Oh No Nuno!, and a surprising stylistic turn for Ian D. Hawgood, author of The Fire Will Die at Night andSpiral into Somewhere, two poetic gems far more abstract in nature than Dusty Gentle Insides, but which share with this album an adventurous and open minded attitude towards music making in general.
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