Saru Downtempo Dojo

After dropping numerous samples of what was to be expected for his first full-length recording, Steve Branson (along Jim Behrens on bass and guitar duty) finally unleashes a well-crafted melodic gem in Downtempo Dojo. If you've been following Shadow Record's onslaught of compilations, cuts such as the album-opening "Posterity," the utterly gorgeous "Bamboo Shadow" and the hypnotic masterpiece "Subterra" will ring a familiar tone in your ear. But the great thing about Downtempo Dojo is that Branson's joined all the tracks together, bleeding into one another and allowing the listener to float from cut to cut of continually soothing and atmospheric beats. Saru's material on the Shadow compilations was a very promising sign as to what the Los Angeles-based beat manipulator was capable of producing. Rest assured that the trend continues by adding equally fantastic numbers such as "Contact," with its gradual rising tempo, from lazy beats to borderline drum & bass, to the percussion-heavy "Jade," which even though has a hefty snare, somehow manages having the placed subtle notes lead the journey. Downtempo Dojo is simply a gorgeous record with epic length songs that is bound to satisfy heads from various musical genres. Headphone music at its finest and something for the blunted. (Shadow)