DJ Kentaro Contrast

DJ Kentaro Contrast
As the winner of the DMC world turntable championships a decade ago, Japan's DJ Kentaro has had plenty of time to hone his skills and let them flourish on Contrast. Kentaro's talent is evident, reaching full potential when paired with heavyweight DJ Krush on "Kikkake," the mechanical patchwork plied with immense scratching, and the appropriately named "Crossfader," with fellow turntablist and Ninja Tune labelmate Kid Koala, demolishing the decks and track. Contrast, however, fares strongest on numbers where production values are at the forefront and guest vocals take a backseat. The instrumental tracks are fairly balanced with those featuring vocals, although the latter often take away from the complexities Kentaro is capable of weaving, feeling more like four-minute spots destined for radio play. "Fire is On," featuring Fireball, is a bit of a reach, with its swaying and overused melody, but finishes off with an unexpected 30-second burst of frenetic chaos, which is more in line with the high energy of the album. (Ninja Tune)