Best of Gota

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Gota Yashiki's work with other artists as a producer, drummer, and remix artist has been wide-ranging and justly praised. His solo work is a little bit more difficult to evaluate. This handy best-of makes the project a little bit easier by offering a representative overview of that work, but the basic problem remains: By what criteria should this music be judged? As an accompaniment to elevator rides and doctor's visits, it is clearly superior; the themes are original (no orchestral arrangements of "Don't Fear the Reaper" here), the mixes are expert, and the grooves are effortlessly engaging but won't distract you from that three-month-old issue of People Magazine. As smooth jazz, it's quite good: The saxophones are sweet and in-tune (don't laugh -- that's not a given), the beats are funky but polite, and the textures are rich and creamy. As dance music, it's a bust: These polite little instrumental miniatures are more likely to induce snuggling than booty shaking. As snuggling music, though, it's not bad. So call it "Muzak for cool people" and judge it on those merits, and it comes out pretty respectable. That said, this handy best-of is almost certainly all you'll ever need.

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