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Basement Jaxx
  Artist: Saru
Downtempo Dojo
Shadow Records
Artist: Basement Jaxx
Album: Rooty Label:Astralwerks

There comes a time in every person's life when they must completely let go of pretense and forge ahead to the true meaning of an action, no matter how base that meaning may be. This holds true even in the field of music; or perhaps especially in the field of music. For while I could easily regale you with a lot of high talk about the sampling methods and production values that went into the creation of the following Electronic releases, you shouldn't really be overly concerned with the technical side things as far as these albums go. The true essence lies in the simple as opposed to the divine: are you feeling the beats?

If the album in question is Saru's "Downtempo Dojo", then the answer is a resounding... maybe. At least for a little while. The name of the game on this album is "chill", as in chill beats, chill loops. It's purpose is certainly not to make you get out of your seat and tear up the dance floor, but to relax and appreciate your surroundings, almost as if it's "end-of-the-night" music. Consisting entirely of what could be described as breakbeats with a slight trance twinge, "Downtempo Dojo" relies heavily on backbeat and instrumentation with the occasional sample thrown in for variety. The formula works... for the first two songs, and then you may find yourself getting increasingly fed-up. The unrelenting "1-2-3-kick" of the backbeat goes on throughout the entire album, basically on autopilot. The samples themselves don't offer anything we haven't heard before, and probably done better. You'll find yourself asking a few times: "Haven't I heard this song already?" only to realize that it's either 1) The song hasn't ended yet (most of the tracks clock in at over 6 LONG minutes) or 2) You're actually on a different song, with almost the exact same beat. Sounding more like an incidental movie soundtrack than a complete album, "Downtempo Dojo" seems incomplete and careless; not offering much to recommend.

This cannot be said of Basement Jaxx's newest effort, "Rooty", an album of many different influences (hip-hop, reggae, salsa, etc...) that are all melded together smoothly over the course of 13 tracks. For the most part, the mood of the music is exciting and the pace never lets up. This is a DJ that clamors for attention, and for the one second that you think things will let up, he hits you. That's definitely the secret to this album's staying power, a DJ that keeps the party going on throughout. The highlight is the funky-as-hell "Broken Dreams" with its soulful lyrivs and syncopated drum loops. "Rooty" has some of the more original ideas in current dance music, and only really sags a little during the middle with some run-of-the-mill house tracks. Very good house tracks, mind you, but run-of-the-mill nonetheless. This is no large detriment however, and it is definitely advisable that, for a good time, you go with "Rooty".

In the end, both of these albums will cause you to go crazy. Saru's "Downtempo Dojo" does it with monotony, while Bassment Jaxx's "Rooty" prefers to use beats.

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