Dry And Heavy Full Contact

Japan has had a dub tradition since at least the early '80s - check out 21st Century Dub for a totally unique Sino-Jamaican fusion. Tokyo is the home of Audio Active, who's been spreading the vibes for nearly ten years. Dry and Heavy is the side project of Active-ist Shigemoto Nanao. They state their roots credentials right off the top with "Tiger Claw Skank," their cut of the Wailers "Can't Blame the Youth." Dry and Heavy is a working band, not a studio project, and with their third album they have reached a comfort level with each other that is apparent throughout. These are fully developed songs, performed by a tight band with killer sonics. There are a handful of nice vocal tracks on Full Contact, particularly those sung by Likkle Mai. She's got a great voice for dub, soulful and very spacy. For the most part, the grooves are up-tempo and there is a nice variety of guitar and keyboard parts. Tyrone Downie-like clavinet chugs through many tunes, referencing the Wailers again. Tasty and restrained guitar melodies will broaden the appeal of this CD beyond reggae fans. The dub atmosphere that Naoyuki Uchida creates relies on artfully imaged stereo delays, expanding and contracting different elements of the music. Full marks for Full Contact. (BSI)