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Like Oooh !

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Album Review

The continual mutation of hip-hop into a protean beast that is whatever any practitioner says it is — much like jazz or rock & roll, say — results in performers like Quio and albums like Like Oooh!, and there's certainly no problem with that. German-born and Germany-based Quio, appearing on AGF's label and benefiting from the typically crisp edge Vladislav Delay brings to the projects he masters, strikes a cool, confident, but playful edge across the album's 20 tracks. Her flow is brisk and clipped, often delivered in short, staccato bursts rather than long, involved deliveries; the stop-start approach may be off-putting to some but by doing so she adds both space to the recordings as well as room for her various collaborators, most notably AGF herself and singer Lise. Speaking of space, the influence of Timbaland's abstract, elegant productions looms large — more than once songs like "Masterpiece" suggest an album cut for Missy Elliott circa 2001, though they resist the subliminal pop edge of her work — while dub refracted through Massive Attack and, perhaps unsurprisingly, microhouse also provide touchstones. But some songs inhabit their own merry space, like "Bah Fangoo!," remixed by AGF into a funhouse ride let loose on a dancefloor, and the four-person collaboration "Lempapa," a struggle-and-joys-of-motherhood-themed song with some utterly wacky kiddie squeals. The skits scattered throughout are no more or less necessary than those on so many other hip-hop efforts, but the chopped-up weirdness of "A F****n Car" almost sounds like Negativland with a rather foul mouth. Often the success of a song turns on an individual element, and if the distorted string sample on "Berlin City" or bluesy guitar on "Flexible Cat" aren't true surprises, they're just the punch needed for the songs. Inspired random lyrical reference: quoting Depeche Mode's "People Are People" midverse on "Great."

Like Oooh !, Quio
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