Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats)

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Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats)
Remix album by Dr. Octagon
Released December 9, 1996
Recorded 1995–1996
Genre Instrumental hip hop, trip hop, underground hip hop
Length 72:00
Label DreamWorks/Geffen/MCA Records
Producer Dan the Automator
Kool Keith chronology
Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats)
The Lost Masters
(2003)The Lost Masters2003

Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats) is a remix album by American emcee Keith Thornton, credited under the title Dr. Octagon. Released in 1996, it is the instrumental version of Dr. Octagonecologyst. It is Thornton's second album under the Dr. Octagon alias. Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats) was produced by Dan "The Automator" Nakamura and featured the work of turntablist DJ Qbert. KutMasta Kurt provided additional production work. The artwork was drawn by Brian "Pushead" Schroeder.


Following the release of his group's third album The Four Horsemen (1993), Ultramagnetic MCs member Keith Thornton, better known by his stage name Kool Keith, produced two songs under the alias Dr. Octagon, "Dr. Octagon" and "Technical Difficulties."[1] Thornton mailed the songs to radio stations as well as giving copies to several DJs and record producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura. This led to Dan the Automator's role in producing the album.[1]

DJ Qbert contributed largely to the album's production with his innovative scratching.

Dr. Octagonecologyst has been praised for its original sound, which has often been attributed to Nakamura,[2] although Thornton states that he was largely involved with the production of the album.[3] Thornton is quoted as saying "Automator and Kurt are probably receiving more credit than I did, but I was a big musical person behind Octagon."[3] Nakamura has said he wanted Dr. Octagonecologyst to stand out from other hip hop albums, citing the music of Eric B. & Rakim, Mantronix, and Run-D.M.C. as influences.[4] "Hip-hop was always inventive. Then the '90s hit and everyone wants to be Dr. Dre; no one wants to be their own thing anymore. Everyone now wants to have the Lexus and deal pounds of drugs. We don't do that. That's not our lifestyle. You don't see us coming out with the fur coat. There's more to music than that," Nakamura said.[4] The album incorporates use of organic instrumentation and features Moog synthesizer, flute, and string instruments.[4]

Lily Moayeri of Rolling Stone called the album a "psychedelic hip-hop concept album."[5] Allmusic reviewer Steve Huey wrote that the album "shed some light on the burgeoning turntablist revival via the scratching fireworks of DJ Q-Bert" and its "futuristic, horror-soundtrack production seemed to bridge the gap between hip-hop and the more electronic-oriented trip-hop".[6] Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReviews also praised its sound, writing that "Cuts are provided with infinite skill and precision by DJ Q-Bert" and that Nakamura's remix of "Waiting List" is "so good that you could hardly miss the original, if indeed there was one."[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[8]

Allmusic reviewer Kembrew McLeod wrote that "If any other artist released an album such as this, it would be considered throwaway trash—something for the hardcore fans. But Dan the Automator's backing tracks are so fresh and original, it's actually nice to just hear the beats minus the rhymes."[2] According to Zac Crain of the Miami New Times, Instrumentalyst proved that Dan "the Automator" Nakamura "had as much, if not more, to do with the success of Dr. Octagon as anyone else."[9]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "3000" Nakamura Dan the Automator 3:31
2. "Moosebumps" Nakamura Dan the Automator 1:47
3. "Earth People" Nakamura Dan the Automator 4:49
4. "Real Raw" Nakamura Dan the Automator 5:34
5. "No Awareness" Nakamura Dan the Automator 4:45
6. "Blue Flowers" Nakamura Dan the Automator 3:16
7. "Technical Difficulties" Matlin KutMasta Kurt 2:57
8. "A Visit to the Gynecologyst" Nakamura Dan the Automator 3:37
9. "Bear Witness (Extended Version)" Nakamura Dan the Automator 6:45
10. "Dr. Octagon" Matlin KutMasta Kurt 4:35
11. "Girl Let Me Touch You" Nakamura Dan the Automator 4:21
12. "I'm Destructive" Nakamura Dan the Automator 3:17
13. "Tricknology 101" Nakamura Dan the Automator 4:58
14. "Wild and Crazy" Nakamura Dan the Automator 4:31
15. "Blue Flowers Revisited" Nakamura Dan the Automator 4:38
16. "Waiting List" Nakamura Dan the Automator 5:31
17. "On Production" Nakamura Dan the Automator 3:01
Total length: 72:00


Information taken from Allmusic.[10]


  • Andy Boy — guitar
  • Phil Bright — bass, guitar
  • C-Note — vox organ
  • DJ Q-Bert — scratching, DJ
  • Whoolio E. Glacias — vox organ
  • Sweet-P — vox organ

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Dan the Automator — producer, mixing, mastering
  • Gordon Chumway — second engineer
  • Pushead — illustrations
  • Mark Senasac — mastering


  1. ^ a b Downs, David (November 21, 2008). "Kool Keith and KutMasta Kurt". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  2. ^ a b McLeod, Kembrew. "Review of The Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  3. ^ a b Goodman, Abbey (April 5, 2002). "All The Voices In Kool Keith's Head Working On New Albums". MTV News. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c "Kool Keith gets freaky as Dr. Octagon". Synthesis. May 30, 1997. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  5. ^ Moayeri, Lily (July 23, 2002). "Kool Keith Revives Dr. Octagon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 January 2009. 
  6. ^ Huey, Steve. "Review of Dr. Octagonecologyst". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  7. ^ Juon, Steve (September 1996). "Review of Dr. Octagonecologyst". RapReviews. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  8. ^ Allmusic review
  9. ^ Crain, Zac (November 25, 1999). "Handsome Dan, Automator Man". Miami New Times. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "Credits for Dr. Octagonecologyst". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-09.