Caia The Magic Dragon

Under the tutelage of Groove Armada’s Andy Cato, Japan’s Maiku Takahashi has concocted an impressive debut as Caia. The 11 tracks that comprise The Magic Dragon channel Far East mysticism and infuse it with organic arrangements, dub bass lines, soulful vocals and hip-hop beats. The sound of tropical waves on "Summer Lightning” transports the listener to a distant oasis via stick drumming, warm droning and rhythmic tribal chanting. Closing your eyes, you can almost picture the virgin white sand, turquoise water and product placement of imported beer. Of course, it’s always a fine line between chill-out and porno soundtrack, and The Magic Dragon does well except for the fat booty grind of "Mr Gone” at the halfway mark. By the end, however, it’s but a distant memory as our thoughts gravitate to album closer "Afterwards @ the Bar,” whose sultry jazz piano licks and sweet vocal nothings make it a solid contender for summer lounge anthem status. (Guidance)