LMNO – self-titled

LMNO – self-titled
prod. Evidence, Madlib
Up Above Records

Originally recorded in 1999, this is a welcome single. Three tracks and three instrumental versions culled from the reissue of LMNO’s Leave My Name Out LP. I have been seeking the Madlib collab “Headlock” for a minute now. But I am happy to note that the other producer featured here, Evidence, drops some funky shit as well. Three tracks are listed on the sleeve, but a brief freestyle is found as well.

Seriously flip the instrumental side and just bob to it. Slow rocking beats, with rhythm deliver by the flip of a solid bass scratch and tonal accents delivered via sample (echo-y piano on “Grin and Bear It”, and echo-y strings on “Radiant”). The style may be formulaic for a full-length, but for this single, it works. Especially as the two Evidence tracks inexplicably meld with those of Madlib. It really does sound like the same producer, just maybe on a different day, or after a pot-, I mean coffee-break. In the chorus on “Headlock”, a persistently rung lo-fi fire-engine sort of bell delivers tonal ambience, and a creepy sort of goblin voice seems to find his way on as well. The unlisted song appears here as a bonus-beat at the end of the instrumental side. It is only a loop, but a nice bass and flute duet at that. I could flip a coin regarding the production credit.

LMNO’s delivery is defined and intent on communication, but a bit monotone. His rhymes and rhythms are to be respected. “Grin and Bear It” is a song of endurance. LMNO seems to often focus his attention on misguided folks in So-Cal: “tired of these sleepy-heads. port-red, multi-bread, Grateful Dead, mislead, tires tread, overfed”; “Corrupt mind, Irvine swine”. Madlib, too, gets on the mic on the playful ‘Headlock’:

“Why you LMNO?”
“‘Cause I leave my name out. Why you Madlib?”
“Cause of these whack kids.”
“Head-on collision with doubt.”

“I gave a donation from my loafer”, LMNO quips on ”Radiant”. Surely you can drop a penny for his thoughts, maybe a couple bucks.

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