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Injury Reserve, 'Outside'

"Outside," the opening track on Injury Reserve's new album By the Time I Get to Phoenix, sets the tone for a deeply claustrophobic, delightfully warped experimental hip-hop album. The six-minute song seems to have been beamed in from an alien dimension; listening feels as if your ear is pressed to a two-way mirror, as you attempt to make out something vaguely unsettling from the other side. Parker Corey's production stands out; a nightmarish soundscape hangs like a dark cloud — not only here, but on the album at large. It bobs and weaves through theremin-like synths and muted frequencies, and by the time a short synth melody crops up in the song's latter half, under heavy labored breathing, the urgency is clear.

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