Free Rain

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Brothers Seto Shmack and Thoth Shmack started out making music together in 1995, making four-track recordings of voice and guitar compositions; later they graduated to digital technologies and were reborn as Mujaji. Somewhere along the line they picked up formidable scratching and fading skills (as evidenced here by the turntable extravaganza "Belgian Cappuccino") and, like good DJs everywhere, learned how to turn obscure samples into bone-jarring funk grooves. Free Rain veers from frenetic scratching ("Belgian Cappuccino") to swaggering trip-hop ("Work for Us," "Smooch") and borderline abstract beats ("Ate at the Zoo"), though trip-hop is the overarching rhythmic mood. "Southern Light Rollerama" flirts with 1970s kitsch while keeping the bassline solid and minimalist in a dubwise sort of way, while "Jihad" combines sludgy funk with a reggae-inflected bassline and guitar arpeggios. Mujaji wears its influences on its sleeve, but digests and integrates them in interesting ways.

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