If Jack Dangers steered his tempo knob a bit to the left, maybe even leaving his analogue devices underneath the console, he might secretly be the mysterious Downtempo Dojo. Actually, it’s not the case, as the one-man wrecking crew Steve Branson is really captain of this ship. But it’s not surprising that both artists share the same label as well. Capturing the best in blunted beats that don’t languish in your mind but resonate, the Dojo gives us more of that laid-back funk that we know and love. Sinister polyrhythms begin to swarm “Bamboo Shadow,” veering from the harmless first few tracks.
In this record’s case, it•s not very fruitful to lend detailed words, because the name says it all. For those of you who are aware of the downbeat style, Saru reads like a textbook case. But the lesson learned can be consistently hypnotic, with only a hint of staleness wafting about. The tracks connect and flow like unconscious diatribes from our greatest spoken-word artists. If only Branson included them on this record, it would keep the Dojo ahead of this swelling field.
Shadow Records, 26 W. 17th Street #502, New York, NY 10011; http://www.shadowrecords.com