Opus Breathing Lessons

Perhaps best known for their production work on Architechnology from Chicago’s Rubberoom, the Opus return with their second album. Breathing Lessons is a dark, brooding instrumental album with one foot firmly planted in hip-hop and the other about to step in a big, steaming pile of drum & bass. The duo of Mr Echoes and the Isle of Weight begins with sparse drums and add in a little bit of instrumentation and some spacey sounds, coming up with a sound that wouldn’t seem out of place amongst Wordsound’s ambient hip-hop. But the thing that makes Breathing Lessons most interesting is the sample selection, with the Opus often opting for original sounds like bee-bop gibberish and Kenny G-style sax for "Life’s Endless Cycle Pt. 3 — Evolutions,” sobs and out-of-breath breathing for "Symbiotic,” and bursts of manic piano for the first half of "The Strange Adventures of Mr Happy,” followed by warped/reversed samples for the second half. Although the Opus have worked with MCs like Aesop Rock, Murs, and Slug, for Breathing Lessons they forego rappers with the exception of a short verse by Slaughterhouse V’s Lord 360 on "Isis.” It’s unnecessary but unobtrusive. A fine example of instrumental hip-hop. (Mush)