January 1, 2008

You would think in the multitudinous world of cut and paste producers, Chinoiseries would seem like another album of bits of beats. Just enough to get your head knocking, only to get cut off when your homeboy starts his freestyle and begs you to bring it back. It is that type of album-but that doesn't mean it isn't a solid collection of methodical production. It's clear from "I Wanna Go Back" that the cat can clobber standard head knockers. Dilla's influence is all over him. "Anthem" sounds like a Premier track during his Moment of Truth-era, but with samples Premier would never venture into. Onra rides a thin line bridging Asian instrumentation into hip-hop, but he's more than just a drum programmer. Samples from '60s Asian vinyl fused with his own drum patterns fit so naturally you'd never think they were made from separate pieces of music (think Wax Tailor). What Madlib is doing with India, Onra is doing with China, Vietnam, and Indonesia-but the result is a lot softer on the ear. -Christopher Longoria

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