You don't have to be a skateboarder to enjoy Odd Nosdam's T.I.M.E. Soundtrack, a score for the Element Skateboards film This Is My Element. (I've never skated in my life, and I enjoyed the hell out of it.) Nosdam's task here is to portray in sound the idiosyncratic styles of 13 of the sport's key figures. Thankfully, T.I.M.E. Soundtrack works well simply as an inventive batch of instrumental hiphop—if we define hiphop very loosely, which we shall, as the record appears on that bastion of hiphop unorthodoxy, anticon.
Along with Jel, Odd Nosdam (aka David Madson) has been the label's preeminent producer, as his three solo albums and work with cLOUDDEAD prove. Nosdam invests his unconventionally funky tracks with a gully textural palette more typical of post-rock groups than hiphop acts, while also nodding to the lush orchestral maneuvers of the oft-sampled David Axelrod. Still, the prevailing aesthetic on T.I.M.E., as it is on all of Nosdam's productions, is decidedly lo-fi; Nosdam will never lace a track for 50 or T.I. at this rate.
"Zone Coaster" (Nosdam's answer to Black Dice's "Cone Toaster"?) starts the disc evoking Can's methodically funky "Halleluwah," with a murky, aquatic organ and pitch-shifted drone of indeterminate origin behind it. Funk—typically coated in grit and distortion—is in fact the album's bonding agent. Nothing here seems to have gone through Nosdam's machines unsullied. The most blatant example of this is "We Bad Apples," in which a filthily fuzzy guitar complements springy funk rhythms that alternate between slack and urgent. "Trunk Bomb" offers tense, off-kilter, stop/start funk with knuckle-cracking percussion accents and steam-compression textures. "Top Rank" slouches into some majestic, stoned dub. "Ethereal Slap" combines chimes, wobbly bass, and industrial-machine-whir atmospheres into a rickety funk contraption. "One for Dallas" provides the disc's prettiest moment, as slide guitar, glockenspiel, and vibes coalesce into a piece of smeared grandeur.
Compared to the music usually associated with skateboarding (too often pop punk and metal), T.I.M.E. is an odd choice to soundtrack its top athletes, but it's a gutsy one.