Anticon Sampler: 1999-2004

Various Artists

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Anticon Sampler: 1999-2004 Review

by Marisa Brown

To celebrate five years of producing records, alternative hip-hop label Anticon released an album highlighting some of their past achievements, as well as a few songs that would later be on upcoming records. Odd Nosdam was assigned the task of mixing, with the intended goal of putting in just enough of each to satisfy die-hard Anticon fans without boring new listeners. For the most part, he successfully accomplishes this. All of the major Anticon players (Themselves, Sole, Alias, Pedestrian, and Passage, as well as Odd Nosdam himself, and other big label or ex-label names like Sage Francis and Why?) have songs on the album, and the eclecticism of the mix, from Doseone's quirky nasal "British" accent in "It's Them," to Sole's brooding intensity on "Shoot the Messenger," to the nonsensical lyrics on Why?'s indie rock "Darla," is a very accurate and enjoyable representation of Anticon. The label was started so that its like-minded members would be able to do this, to push the boundaries of hip-hop, and they show off their roots by including "D. Mothers of Invention," from Deep Puddle Dynamics' The Taste of Rain...Why Kneel, the first ever Anticon release, and Alias' "Divine Disappointment," from 1999's Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop. They're also proud to display some of their newer material, like Dosh's "Steve the Cat" from his 2003 self-titled debut or Alias' "Unseen Sights," which features the Notwist's Markus Acher on vocals. Even though most of the songs are under three minutes, there isn't much superfluous filler to weigh down the record. Odd Nosdam is skilled at keeping the interest level high with constant movement and strong, indicative tracks that would all probably be good enough to keep the record going by themselves. For someone who owns all of the label's releases, Anticon Sampler: 1999-2004 won't bring much new material, but as an nice mix or as an introduction to what Anticon is all about, the record is more than adequate.

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