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  Kyoto Jazz Massive Spirit of the Sun
Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5

by Sterling McGarvey

So…you've finally played out your Jazzanova CD. You've listened to In Between until it turned inside out. As summertime has bowed out, it's time for something different. But you still crave the sounds of Compost. If that's the case, then Kyoto Jazz Massive's debut effort for the label is right up your alley.

Consisting of brothers Shuya and Yoshihiro Okino, Kyoto Jazz Massive has put out an impressive effort for the label. Gaining a name in Japan for their club nights, which meld house and jazz with Brazilian-influenced sounds, the duo has moved on to gain a foothold in Europe and the UK. Unlike the "is it real or synthesized?" aural trickery of Waltz for Koop, the diverse range of Minus 8's Minuit, or the long-awaited and out-of-the-ballpark craftsmanship of In Between, Spirit of the Sun stands on its own. It feels like it's projecting out into the stars. The Brothers Okino have taken the production values most readily associated with the Compost label and juxtaposed them with sounds light years ahead. It is both a beautifully composed and futuristic-feeling album.

"The Brightness of These Days," featuring the vocals of Vanessa Freeman, opens the CD with a very classic lounge sound. It leads into the warm, synth-driven beats of "Mind Expansions," a track that carries all of the feeling of watching the sun arise over an urban skyline after a late evening. "Deep in Your Mind" boasts the vocals of Victor Davies (who seems to be channeling the spirit of Al Jarreau) over a samba rhythm. "Stargazer" takes the (damn near) trademark Compost broken beat rhythm and infuses it with futuristic synth stabs, creating a groove that is both contemporary sounding and forward thinking. "Between the Lights" has the slow feel of an r&b track, a la Maxwell.

"Shine" melds classic jazz, samba rhythms, modern synthesizers, and flamenco guitars into sonic bliss. The gem of the album to behold, however, is "Substream." It is six minutes and thirty-four seconds of the fiercest instrumental space cowboy disco funkiness on this side of Jamiroquai. Hear it. Believe it. If you couldn't see Jay Kay getting spastic over this groove, there's not much more that can be said to espouse it. All in all, the Okino Brothers have composed asolid effort for Compost. Then again, would anyone expect any less? This one's for the downtime, the rainy evening drive, the nocturnal unconsciousness, or even the wine and cheese tasting event. It's got style and flavor for days. Spirit of the Sun is worth your hard-earned money.


Spirit of the Sun from Spirit of the Sun
by Kyoto Jazz Massive

Track Listing:

  1. The Dawn Introduction (Ft Vanessa Freeman)
  2. The Brightness Of These Days (Ft Vanessa Freeman)
  3. Mind Expansions (Ft Maiya James)
  4. Deep In Your Mind (Ft Victor Davies)
  5. Stargazer
  6. Eclipse
  7. Between The Lights
  8. Shine (Ft Chris Franck And Guida De Palma)
  9. Substream
  10. Behind The Shadow
  11. M E Outroduction

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