Dr. Octagon

Dr. Octagonecologyst  Hear it Now

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Originally released last year on San Francisco's Bulk Recordings, Dr. Octagon's debut album was an inspired concoction from post-modern rap icon Kool Keith, formerly of the legendary Bronx, N.Y., hip-hop group Ultramagnetic MC's. Occupying the heretofore-undefined area where hip-hop meets hallucinatory sci-fi and porn, Dr. Octagon's concept – an incompetent, sex-obsessed doctor conducts his rounds as patients die all around him – brought a new kind of ruckus to hip-hop. Nasty, as well as arty, as it wanted to be, Dr. Octagon's environment of porno-dialogue excerpts, robotic beats and hilarious skits, and Kool Keith's alternately juvenile and abstract lyrical blessings, offered a 3 Feet High and Rising for the age of hardware and cynicism.

Now, Dr. Octagon has been picked up by a major label and newly unleashed on an unsuspecting public as Dr. Octagonecologyst. The LP's dementia is no more suitable for mass consumption than before, although there are a handful of noteworthy alterations: four additional tracks, two omissions and some re-sequencing (a full disc of instrumental versions titled Instrumentalyst is also being released). Some of the changes are interesting – the previously unreleased "1977" is an hommage to Keith's Boogie Down Bronx roots, and "Real Raw" is slow and low braggadocio with an unexpected double-time drum-and-bass break – but the original LP's core still supplies the best moments. Producer Dan Nakamura (a k a Automator), turntable wizard DJ Q-Bert and occasional lyrical cohort Sir Menelik wreak audio-mechanical havoc on such songs as "Earth People," "Waiting List" and the essential "Blue Flowers." Kool Keith leads and oversees the chaos with a Zappa-esque commitment to decadence. On "No Awareness," he says that "no radio or station would understand." Maybe that's just as well. (RS 762)


(Posted: May 28, 1997)


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