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Review: Andre Afram Asmar Race to the Bottom

Label: Mush

This disc finds underground-hip-hop hotbed Mush deviating into radical multicultural inventiveness. On his second album, LA producer Andre Afram Asmar unearths dub's roots and then fertilizes them with exotic seeds from Africa, the Middle East and Crooklyn. Asmar consistently keeps things eerie and disorienting, but he retains a soulful humanity amid the studio sorcery. Race To The Bottom is as sonically radical as mystical iconoclasts Muslimgauze and Badawi, but with a more uplifting spirit than either. Read more » 

Review: The Militia Music for the Masses EP

Label: Cargo Industrial

This four-man collective-featuring the talents of Stakka, Friction, Skinny and K Tee-continues on in the rolling sci-fi vein these producers love so well. "Music For the Masses" and "Electrolux" are relentless, pounding Amen crushers, while "Low Key" and "You and I Know" are swingy machine-funk with precisely placed female vocals. Considering drum & bass's current warmth, these tracks sound a bit austere, but they'll still have some dancefloor currency. Read more » 

Review: Model 3 Substance EP

Label: Soundproof

This debut release on Dallas label Soundproof features a triplet of tight house tracks for those who like it deeper. The pick of the three is Cle's stripped-down, modern acid house cut "Sustained Way," which absolutely kicks on a loud system. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists On the Right Track

Label: Do Right!

This could easily be a one-line review, "On the Right Track features a Finnish goth band." Finns are already pale, so their goths must be reflective shadow dancers. Oddly enough, Kuusumun Profeetta contributes in the warmest way-their velvety bossanova glows like Chet Baker serenading the Northern Lights. Swell Session, the Vogado Project, Moonstarr & John Kong, Nicola Conte and other qualified cohorts round out the On the Right Track pack. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Motivate Movement Installment One: Asiatic

Label: Motivate Movement

This compilation is first in a series of projects put out by Motivate Movement, a hip-hop collective dedicated to both preserving the memory of slain Bay Area graffiti artist Michael "DREAM" Francisco and supporting positive hip-hop. Overall, the CD is impressive, containing great production, awesome cuts and some real nice rhymes from a slew of Asian-American artists and their collaborators, representing East Coast, West Coast and in between. Read more » 

Review: Headnodic Walk Something

Label: Miclife-Insiduous

These two 45s spotlight the production skills of bassist/beatmaker Headnodic of the Bay Area's rising Crown City Rockers (formerly Mission). Rhyme tracks like the loping, piano-touched "Walk" and the laidback "Something" with Raashan Ahmad work well, but check the instrumentals, especially the Rhodes-rockin' "Persistence" and the string-driven "Presipus." Hot. Read more » 

Review: Mutiny UK In the Now

Label: System

There's a Jaxx factor to this one. Mutiny UK's Dylan Barnes used to produce with a pre-Basement Jaxx Simon Ratcliffe. Barnes has since joined with Tommy Boy producer Rob Davy, but the familiar samples and bassline on album opener "Midnight Lady" still recall certain fin-de-si Read more » 

Review: EZ Rollers Titles of the Unexpected

Label: Moving Shadow

The sophomore album from drum & bass collective EZ Rollers kicks off quite as you'd expect. The first three tracks fit neatly into jungle's current obsession with disco and house, with the Rollers-one of the premier live d&b acts-managing to add their unique stamp by incorporating original vocals and warm, real-sounding instrumentation. From there, the disc grows into its title, branching into shuffling, funky hip-hop, proto-ragga two-step, and even a few tracks that sound like Fatboy Slim might be on their heels. Read more » 

Review: 3 Play Girl In the Taxi

Label: DnD

The producers behind Daniel Beddingfield's Top 40 hit "Gotta Get Through This" come correct with this blinging ragga-tinged rub. The A-side's rough and driving 4/4 mix offers crisply picked strings, manic slicing hi-hats and plenty of bass. On the flip: the original breaky mix with its poppy, R&B-accented beats and vocals, along with a 4/4 mix that gives the sound of early Masters At Work and Kerri Chandler the UK garage touch. Definitely one for the ladeez. Read more » 

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