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The Opus Breathing Lessons

The Opus's debut, 2002's First Contact 001, hinted at the underground hip-hop duo's weird approach, but it still seemed too indebted to DJs Premier and Shadow. On Breathing Lessons, Chicago's Mr. Echoes and the Isle Of Weight instantly submerge you in their mysterious, subterranean world with a down-pitched, seesawing sitar loop, trippy Moog emissions and martial-funk beats. Next level duly achieved, the Opus continues to flaunt their genius for bizarre samples, elevating hip-hop into a dystopian sci-fi future that sounds oddly thrilling. Supernaturally dark, warped and peculiarly funky, Breathing Lessons furthers hip-hop's ongoing and welcome psychedelic renovation.

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