Endless Flight

Apparently the ten tracks on the first solo album by KZA (popular Japanese DJ and vinyl collector Yotsukaido Nature aka one-half of Force of Nature) were built from samples taken from old jazz, rock, and disco records (which explains the D.A.E.—“Dig and Edit”—title). Though each track is a multi-layered construction with materials pulled from numerous sources, KZA (along with album engineer and keyboards contributor Kuniyuki Takahashi) stitches the elements together so seamlessly that little tell-tale evidence of the material's jigsaw-puzzle assembly emerges. Most of the tracks are dance-like in nature, with disco and house grooves the most prominent, but KZA gives the tracks enough individuating character that sameness is avoided.

A fabulous opener, “Aneugalam” weds a slinky disco groove to a funky bass pattern that sounds lifted from Boz Scaggs' “Lowdown,” and then ornaments it with watery electro piano chords, declamatory horn accents, and liquid electric guitar lines. Even better, the track's melodic lines coil themselves sinuously around the deep groove without siphoning off any of its serpentine thrust. Buoyed by a softly chugging electro-rhythm, “Capricorn” then wraps its sing-song melodies in Italo-synth sparkle, before “Gothenergy,” a pulsating slab of synthetic electro-disco, does, in fact, grow darker and more gothic over the course of its seven minutes. After jagged electric guitar chords strafe a driving disco stomp in “Unfaithful,”  KZA chills the pace halfway through with a string of beatific cosmic disco cuts (“Communication Satellite,” “Transaction,” “Routine,” the acidy closer “Open Up (Slow Version)”). The one time that KZA's plunderphonic method grows too noticeable is during the Chicago House-styled “On&On&On” when sample after sample piles on top of the rambunctious groove—the project's singular instance where a track suffers from overkill. Otherwise, D.A.E. is a fine collection of dance-based sampledelica—not that you'd necessarily know it on purely listening terms.

November 2009