Unagi - Unagi      
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written by Shannon Sutton    
As a collector of garage sale vinyl, Unagi's compilation of cheesy retro grooves could very well be one of the freshest discs I've heard in a long time. It fits well within my classification of a great cutting-edge, down-tempo/chillout-style sound. With minimal technology, Unagi has succeeded in creating electronic ecstasy. With his general seventies and eighties cheesy T.V. sound, Unagi would be right on track to explore the world of setting his music to film. He is definitely well on his way to achieving artist greatness.

It's impossible to listen to this without Sonny (Miami Vice) or Magnum P.I. flashing through your head. Palm trees, fast cars and intense cheeseball drama must have been the inspiration for this CD, and it works unbelievably well! Its light-heartedness gives off a warm and fuzzy nostalgia of the good ol' days, yet at the same time, the CD has enough of a borderline elevator-y, feel-good sound that it could definitely serve as a comfort while waiting in the dentist's office for your yearly check-up.

The seventies and eighties seemed to be the start of an exploration for new ways to make music. Although songs like "Hmmm" and "Good Vibes" are a little weak on the longevity front, it's pretty easy to be blasted back to the days of ultra-wide lapels and white suit jackets with tracks like "Space Cadet" and "Courtship Ritual". "Mello Yello" speaks wonders with its wailing sax clips, but "Invisible Frenchman" is by far the grooviest diddy on this collection, with its superb blend of various beats and melodies, and a nice execution of a chorus-style, sweet and groovy flute sample. "The One" brought out one of those eruptions of surprised laughter as early-80's rap vocals made their way under my skin. This glee quickly turned into a "roll your eyes" kind of feeling when female sap transformed the retro Grandmaster Flash-like tone into a love song. Not necessarily a bad thing, rather a good example of manipulating the music exceptionally well to balance two worlds.

Musical genius aside, one thing that irked me with this disc is that it seems to be more of a collection of short glimpses. Each song on this 30-minute CD has a hint of progression - enough to turn you on, but unfortunately not enough stamina to finish the job. I tend to like a good build within a song; something to keep me on the edge of my seat until a climatic explosion gives some sort of gratification. These songs don't ever reach a full peak. Most of them are way too short, leaving the listener on the edge of experiencing the complete musical story. Although the songs are well-designed and very catchy, this seemingly incomplete package of musical would-be masterpieces leaves you wanting more. Maybe that's his ticket to procreation…

However, considering the instantaneous head-nod that I experienced, this "taste" could just about be enough for me to follow Unagi and anticipate what he will come up with next.









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