Pedestrian synthesizes different forms– spoken, preached, sung, rhymed and unrhymed. His sense of language is classicist, and the album evokes a warm spirit of collaboration among friends and artistic equals.
History looms large in pedestrian’s vision, both aesthetically and thematically. His excavation of history rethinks and reckons with hiphop’s last thirty years through samples, direct quotes, and stylistic references. A beautiful variety of accents in cultures across time and space is present, with nods to Dylan Thomas, Lorca, Reverend J.M. Gates and the southern “shouter” tradition of preaching, pre-WWII American folk music, Biblical and gospel imagery.
If his omnivorous appetite makes any sense, it’s because of the detail and thematic coherence of his writing, and the musical contributions of his collaborators. The music’s hard rhythmic swing– particularly undeniable in jel’s gritty SP1200 beats, but also in the approaches of alias and matt chang– gives the album kinetic momentum. A synthesis of sampler and instrumentation is the album’s norm and the songs’ structures can only be described as dynamic. The hand of why?, whose early songs are marked by brevity and capacity to surprise, is evident on six of the album’s songs. Not a song goes by without a couple voices from a revolving cast of characters chiming in dose’s refrains on “O Silent Bed,” sole’s frequent interjections, why?’s harmonizing presence. Onetime anticon colleague and current Ninja Tune artist Sixtoo sums up unIndian songs as “the definitive anticon album,” despite the obvious fact that it takes a dramatic turn away from the kind of music usually associated with anticon.