Miimo: Miimo 2

It should come as no surprise that Japan-based Miimo sounds unique: is there another group that can claim to blend drum, bass, electronics, and steel pan into a style that merges pop, electro, funk, techno, and especially dub into a breezy whole? Steel pan player Yoshio Machida (and Amorfon head), bassist tatsu, and drummer Norihide Saji largely succeed at merging Brazilian, American, African, and Caribbean rhythms into coherent tunes of pop song length, and doing so using acoustic and electronic resources. Scattered amongst the steel pan and acoustic bass playing are synthesizers and no shortage of dub production treatments, plus the trio gets some girlish vocal help from J-pop singer Yuiko and Toshiyuki Yasuda.

Miimo's style is described as “pop-electro dub” and that's pretty much how it sounds. The piano-based opener “U Boy” sounds like the sunniest cut King Tubby never made, with the focus more on pop than dub in its pure and raw form. “Monkey Dub” perpetuates the jubilant vibe, though Yoshio Machida's steel pan playing re-locates the trio's sound to the tropical beachside. The vocodered “Small Venus” largely succeeds at bridging the gaps separating dub, house, and funk, while “Sora Ni Tsurette” merges electronic beats, steel pan, and acoustic bass into sunny dub-techno. Miimo's music gravitates towards clubby house in “To the Universe” and silky deep house in “Happy Birthday.” It ain't perfect—the soulful lover's groove in “Taxidermia” would be a whole lot more palatable had the Portuguese rap been omitted—but Miimo 2 turns out to be better than anticipated.

June 2009