One problem that plagues many collaborative albums is the dependency on all of the album's collaborators to maintain a certain level of quality throughout. If one musician is unable to keep up with that of another, the entire song ends up being brought down in quality and becomes reduced into nothing more than album fodder. Daedelus has collaborated with other rappers before on his "The Weather" album with mixed results. On "Exquisite Corpse" however, he manages to instill faith into those of us were less than impressed with his hip hop attempts on this album's predecessor.
From the track's first song, "Dearly Departed", you know this is going to be a daedelus album first and foremost. Unlike in "The Weather", his beats don't take the backseat to the album's rappers. "Dearly Departed", like many of the musician's songs is a soothing lullaby introduced by what sounds like a sound clip from what could easily be a piece of French New Wave Cinema. The hip hop kicks into full swing on the second track, "Impending Doom", appropriately named for its featuring of the prolific MF Doom. The song is short, but sweet, with thick drum beats and a fast tempo. The combination of the rapper's inventive rhymes with strings and samples that could be from a 40s romance film compliment each other nicely.
Where the album truly succeeds is with its inclusions of multiple song arcs. Everytime I listen to the album, I feel obligated to listen to three or four songs simply because of how well crafted they are. Both "The Crippled Hand" and "Welcome Home feat. Mike Ladd" are in this category, the former harkening back to Daedelu's ability to make drum repetitions that are both furious and elegant at the same time. As the song reaches its climax, you may as well be watching the climax of some obscure noir film. As the drums sound like they're atrophing and the beats become irregular, the listener realizes something big is about to happen. When the horns start sounding, the track becomes absolutely euphoric. Mike Ladd's rhyming on "Welcome Home" is both laid back and intelligent. It feels not quite like spoken word, but not quite like rapping. It positions itself on that happy path in between the two genres.
While a couple of the songs such as "Move On" (which features Sci - a rapper who instantly makes any track dull with his blasé rhyming) and "Cadavre Exquis" (which features the nasally rapping of TTC) are forgettable and almost always get skipped when listening to the album, there are enough quality tracks on this album to make it easily worth getting. This is how "The Weather" should have been done in the first place - with a happy equilibrium between beats and raps, instead of the latter dominating the former.