Kyoto Jazz Massive / Various 10th Anniversary

Kyoto Jazz Massive have been the centre of acid jazz in Japan for ten years as a musical unit, even longer as DJs. This collection on kindred spirits Jazzanova’s Compost label collects straight-up tracks, remixes and tributes to the Massive, spread out over two discs. In a nutshell, disc one is just okay, whereas disc two takes more chances and is worth the price of admission. Quantic’s mix of "The Brightness of These Days” is a killer start to the first disc, a meticulous composed but funky summation of the KJM’s sensibility. After that, the Rhodes and rides take over. Looking back on some of these tracks from a 2006 perspective, surely the most dedicated nu-jazz fans have got to admit that these sounds are played out as a semiotic of "jazz,” even though it’s still an all too common technique. Fortunately, what remains impressive are KJM’s songwriting skills, which marry typically chilled soul to oblique chords and stirring conga patterns and squiggly synth leads. I found the consistency of approach monotonous after a while — though I might not have ten years ago. I was more pleasantly surprised by the mind-expanding mixes on disc two. Two 11-minute workouts set the pace, with a cinematic Brazilian bumper by Da Lata, and Jazztronik’s take on "Shine” being quite luminous indeed. Killer cuts from Little Louis Vega and Monday Michuru also elevate the collection. If you’re into the Compost label, you’ll love this. For the unconverted, it’s a tougher sell but still quite worthwhile. Here’s to another ten years. (Compost)