Yotaro – Turning Point (Cascade Records)


Information about Yotaro is pretty thin on the ground, apart from that he’s a hiphop producer from Nara, Japan who was apparently born in 1990 to a truck manufacturer. Yotaro started releasing his beats onto Bandcamp back in 2012, and since then he’s managed to release several albums and EPs (sometimes under his alternate alias Youtaro). This latest collection ‘Turning Point’ arrives on French label Cascade Records, and comes across more as a mini-album than anything else, with twelve tracks being traversed over a speedy 25 minute running length. The focus here falls upon instrumental beats, with many of the tracks barely coming in at two minutes in length, and there’s a distinctly post-J.Dilla feel to the loose, non-quantised collisions of rhythms and jazz-soul samples going on here.

‘AAYA’ opens proceedings with sampled gangster dialogue before sliding down into lazy jazz drum fills, murmuring bass synths and twinkling keys, before a return to the sampled Tarantino-esque menace paves the way for a gear shift up into buoyant funk, sampled Southern MC backing chants playing at the very edges. ‘Holi’ meanwhile offers up one of the standout highlights here as a teasing female soul vocal hook plays off an elegant piano loop, the juddering, off-centre boom-bap rhythms inducing a vaguely woozy feel as laconic sampled MC murmurs add to the smoky vibe.

‘Intelligence’ even manages to inject a touch of dubby bottom end into proceedings as a wheezing King Tubby-esque bassline swells against spidery snare flickers and tripped out analogue synth ripples, before ‘SWORD’ unveils one of this record’s most gossamer offerings as twinkling keys stretch off into the distance against a flurry of acoustic guitar fretwork, the swooning low-slung double-bass runs and clattered, hard-edged hiphop beats adding just the right amount of kick to offset the wide-eyed dreaminess. At just 25 minutes in length, ‘Turning Point’ feels more like a taster than anything else, but fans of the likes of DJ Cam and DJ Mitsu The Beats should be drooling over what’s in store here.


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