Obnox, Niggative Approach (5/30/2017, 12XU)
Obnox is the musical alter ego of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lamont ‘Bim’ Thomas (pictured). Having released five long-players under this moniker in the last 3 years, the word ‘prolific’ seems apt. I must admit that new release, Niggative Approach, is the first one I’ve fully sat down with – and now I’m both damn glad I did and in a hurry to dig deeper into the earlier material.
The title might be a wink and a bow to Detroit hardcore godheads Negative Approach (whose singer, John Brannon, makes an appearance on the album’s intro and outro), but the album is far too diverse, dense and interesting to damn with the faint praise of a hyphenated ‘punk’ or other descriptor. Frankly, there’s so much going on in this record, it can be giddily overwhelming. Jazz, psych, garage, soul, blues, punk, funk, r&b, hip hop, Beastie Boys, Funkadelic, Rudy Ray Moore, Kid Congo, D’Angelo, Shabazz Palaces, Sun Ra, War, Curtis Mayfield, MF Doom, sky high riffs, heavy funk bass, kick drum grooves, eye of newt and a partridge in a motherfuckin’ pear tree – all this and more await across the album’s 14 tracks (excluding intro-/outro).
I found it best to just strap in, give in, and let it all wash over me, repeated listens bearing ever sweeter fruit. The spy theme raga of “You”. The hot, humid synth feel of “Hardcore Matinee”. The wide lapel groove of “”Beauty Like the Night”. The diamond amidst the rough of the beautiful “Carmen, I Love You”. Exhale.
Highlights include: “Audio Rot”; “Afro Muffin”; “Carmen, I Love You”; “You”; “Niggative Approach”; “Beauty Like the Night”.