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Kabuki Signal to Noise

When artists make tunes to fulfill their own DJ box-not those of the scene's "top jocks"-it shows. German drum & bass head Kabuki (who also records under the Japanese-themed aliases Makai and Megashira) does just that on Signal to Noise, a record that grounds itself in genteel, jazzy and pristine-sounding d&b but also plumbs broken beat and hip-hop flavors. Melding the cool (but not clinical) vibes of Detroit techno with breakbeats, Kabuki alternately hits (with the quirky broken electro of "After the Fire" and "Logic Bomb") and misses-vocal jungle tracks "Speed of Sound" and "Spend the Night Remix" are too light in the loafer-but ultimately pulls off his signature sound.

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