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Wednesday, June 19, 2002

HIGH NOTES

Rhythm Love: 'The Best of Turntables on the Hudson'


We live in an age of increasingly diverse yet compartmentalized forms of dance music. The original "one" of disco, has fractalized into a "many," yet rare are the labels or parties that allow the genres to mingle. Funky breakbeats rarely intrude into the sets of clinically mixed trance, while the feel-good, sexy vibe of house rarely bumps up against the dope-slow riddims of dub.

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The postmodern clubber would do well to check out NYC's Rhythm Love collective. Run by DJs Nickodemus and Mariano, Rhythm Love have released some choice 12" singles and CD compilations documenting a scene that's open to anything, as long as it's got a groove. "The Best of Turntables on the Hudson" is compiled from three CDs' worth of floor-tested tunes, and moves from stoned hip-hop breaks to Capoeira rhythms on berimbau (one-string Afro-Brazilian bow). Standouts include The Pleb's "Shadow of a Bee," with some delicate picked guitar interlacing the kicking dub beats, and "In Your Arms" by Seph & Sven, a surging piece of hypno-house that rises and falls from a cloud of shimmery synths.

"Brooklyn Ole," by Madrid de los Austrias (who have an excellent full album out on Avex's Sarong sub-label) sounds like the band must have sold their soul to the devil to get that funky, with cutting wah guitar morphing perfectly into some insanely tight turntable antics. Nickodemus' "Desert Dancer" has been turning up on loads of compilations, but the "Slow Camel Mix" is the best, and it can only be found on this Japan-only release: soaring, wordless vocals by Andrea Monteiro over rai-inflected keyboards, and a super-slinky blend of looped drums and gulping percussion. As effective in your living room as in any club.



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