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Ryukyu Underground :: Mo Ashibi
[respect records]   review from mo  


Japanese electronic innovators Ryukyu Underground return with their second record Mo Ashibi, continuing the journey started on their awe-inspiring self-titled debut. The RU continues its explorations into dub, break and house textures composed around the ancient sounds of the land of the rising sun. The strongest element of their debut remains heavily represented here :: The Ryukyu Dub Experience™. Two bass driven downtempo gems are a definite pleasers for anyone wondering what a flight to Okinawa via Jamaica would sound like. It's very telling that just such a song is the title track of the record, "Mo Ashibi." A new style added to their repertoire, this breaks tune establishes the RU as being capable of booty-shaking as well as ear-tickling.

The three remixes of the "Hana" found on the remix single of the same title aptly demonstrate that the RU is well capable of taking any of these tunes in a myriad of musical directions. The fine "Sefa Utaki" is reminiscent of Laswellian Oscillation rollers, where the Okinawan texture balances the drums perfectly. Following is one of the house favourites, and perhaps the most innovative track on the album: "East is East." "Akata Sundunchi" is another notable that shares the distinct Ryukyu sound and quality. With an abundance of tracks derived from live recordings made especially for this release (as opposed to the largely sample-based techniques of the prior album), this record represents a fine soundtrack to the movie of your mindıs eye; my favourite kind of record.

It falls short, however, in its pursuit to be all things to all electronic music heads. It is rare that any artist can genre hop with such abandon and still make a thematic statement. A sharper focus on their strengths would yield continuity and a message. An essential component of creating a record that is food for thought is creating a narrative or at least a sequence of compelling (even unrelated) stories. This way the listener can play the record again and again, recycling it through their imagination. A relatively small complaint for a record with several standouts.



ethnotechno rating: 4 out of 5
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  1. hana -extended mix (pick)
  2. mo ashibi
  3. Koi No Michikusa
  4. kunjin nu hana (pick)
  5. Sefa Utaki
  6. East is East (pick)
  7. seragaki (pick)
  8. Kanasando
  9. akata sundunchi