Kabuki Signal To Noise

Can drum & bass be delicate? While the frantic music verges on metal at one end of its spectrum, Kabuki shows how the other end of the spectrum can be nearly dainty — when prepared properly, that is. Keeping the odd wedge of descending fat bass, and employing other, more consistent bass lines that straddle d&b and house, he’s used the genre’s skitterish and speedy rhythms as a bed for neo-soul and house melody lines and voices. Par example, "Sexdrive” is a version of Vikter Duplaix’s "Manhood,” with Duplaix’s neo-soul sex-slick of a voice hovering above a crisp turbo-skip rhythm. Then there’s the mid-album "After the Fire,” which goes straight to dub, but keeps drum & bass production values. While the elements he’s mixed qualify the album for broken beat status, it’s on the verge because a) there’s no hint of Afrobeat, and b) the various genres are kept separate enough to make their ancestry obvious. However, horizontal fluidity seems to be a founding principal, so the vertical separation of genres doesn’t result in disjointedness. Crafty. (Combination)