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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Chimp Beams

By Stacy Meyn
Published April 27, 2007

Menina
Concent Productions

Since 2001, “Marihito” [Ayabe], K-Go Mizutani, and Yusuke Yamamoto have been creating fine electronic dub in Brooklyn. Already big in Japan, Chimp Beams now offer US listeners their sprightly second album Menina. Portuguese for “girl child,” Menina is the soundtrack for a sophisticated, well-traveled young lady, despite artwork featuring a grinning simian who “hears no evil.” Each trio member is an accomplished producer/musician—none are afraid to use vibraphones, guitar, flute, or other live instruments to augment the breakbeats and production tricks. Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation provide clear insipiration—if you dig those, Menina is for you. Their dub’s downtempo, jazzy, and funky, and they’re known for precise live performances and improv chops. Those skills are evident on the recording, and jump to the remix realm (the title track was unleashed as a monster single). Two hip-hop-type tracks take bows, and all tunes prioritize melody and emotion over atmosphere.