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CD REVIEW

DJ Fumiya: “DJ Fumiya in the Mix”

by Blair Mcbride

Starting out as a hip-hop DJ at age 14, DJ Fumiya’s career has got bigger and broader. He joined the eclectic Japanese hip-hop group Rip Slyme as the main producer at 18, and with Fumiya manning the gear the outfit won a slew of prestigious MTV awards over the last decade, including the first million-selling Japanese hip-hop album. A jack of all musical trades, he has also produced and remixed artists such as Yo-King, Fantastic Plastic Machine and Mr. Children. His latest release, “DJ Fumiya in the Mix,” is an effervescent electro-house production that is both living-room and dance-floor friendly. This album will have party people scrambling for their dancing shoes with its array of genres. Fumiya knows how to blend house, electro and breakbeat together with generous amounts of relentless, thumping funkiness. The groove builds steadily from the start and swings between pounding tunes, such as Laidback Luke & Diplo’s “Hey,” and more playful tracks, like Riva Starr’s “I Was Drunk.”

At the CD’s midpoint, Fumiya briefly drops the pace into a tranquil, organic vein. DavCar’s “Move it Closer,” featuring Arabian string samples and vocalist Misfit’s soothing voice, gives the listener a short break before the driving beats to come.

The second half of the CD contains some scorching highlights, especially Daniel Haaksman’s shifting breakbeat gem “Kid Conga” and Ku Bo’s manic, Brazilian-esque “And You.” But the groove stagnates, neither building up nor coming down; Fumiya’s selections are great, but he plays them a little too long, and they don’t flow together as smoothly as in the first half. And he employs few of the mixing techniques featured in his live sets, such as cutting, looping and scratching. In the end, this leaves the listener thinking the CD failed to live up to its full potential.