Shinjuku Zulu Various Chimeras

Shinjuku Zulu is classic hipster material — whether that’s a good thing depends on your frame of mind. The brainchild of Toronto-based Kirby Ian Andersen (KIA), the very concept of shinjuku ZULU ( a mash up of a Tokyo neighbourhood and an African tribe) sounds a bit too clever and world beat for its own good but perhaps that’s the point. Various Chimeras crashes and clashes around with ethnic motifs and musical multi-tempo styles to create what’s essentially radio-friendly pop electronica. "Dirty Liar” is electro-hip-hop with a country twist that stands up to repeated listens, while the dance floor sensibilities of tracks like "We Do Supersonic” and "Shanghai Masai” represent urban dance at its best. But getting past the grandiose cultural crossing conceit (everything from dance/break beat, African chants, ambient a cappella and groove) Various Chimeras is actually quite one-dimensional. Whether that’s a statement on a "we are one world” sentiment or the side-effect of KIA’s sonic sound fusion, the album is saccharine and lacks the gravity that was most likely intended. As it stands, while worth a few spins, Various Chimeras is ultimately a satisfactory but fluffy outing. (Neuphoria)