Oki Dub Ainu Band / Little Tempo

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Oki Dub Ainu Band / Little Tempo

The world music section of any record store is bloated with examples of ethnic fusion failures: well-intentioned but ultimately doomed attempts to meld indigenous sounds with contemporary production mores. Oki Dub Ainu Band are one of the rare groups who have managed to get the balance right. Their songs may draw heavily on dub and African rhythms, but the group's front lineup includes traditional instruments of the Ainu, Hokkaido's indigenous people. At its best, the end result sounds like nothing else on earth: a weird and intoxicating mix. In a nod to Jamaican tradition, the latest Oki Dub Ainu Band release, Himalayan Dub, finds Oki joining up with sound engineer Naoyuki Uchida to craft a dub version of last year's Sakhalin Rock album. Their upcoming Tokyo date rounds off a nationwide tour, and will feature a guest appearance by steel pan-wielding dub band Little Tempo.

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