Friday, July 23, 2004
"Don Tiki Adulterated:
The Remix Project"
It's been almost three years since Don Tiki's last album, and that's reason enough for this collection of 11 remixes by "top DJs from around the globe," revisiting familiar songs from the group's back catalog. While no information is provided about the credentials of these so-called "top DJs," the remixes themselves succeed in blending Don Tiki's original neo-exotica sounds with a judicious assortment of club music genres. The redone versions of "An Occasional Man" and "The Natives Are Restless" are immediate standouts for the repositioning of the vocalists within the new arrangements. Knowledgeable fans of tiki music who know the DJ's birth names will note that Frank Quimby Orrall of Poi Dog Pondering (and an occasional guest band member) and band director Kit Ebersbach did some of the remixes. But all are welcome additions to this revitalized take on the genre.
Below Sea Level
Nippondamic embraces two terms long considered offensive by Japanese Americans, does bilingual raps, and breaks with local tradition in this provocative collection of memorable hip-hop vignettes. Nippondamic takes the offensive against the first local rapper to hit the Billboard Hot 100 back in the '90s, a local record label, and an industry figure who is apparently a gangsta wannabe. Overall, Nippondamic stands out as a scrappy Eminem-style underdog whose stuff includes tracks describing his rejection by a local producer who said that his "delivery needs work." Another cut describes in stark and honest terms a dangerously dysfunctional marriage. "Usual Suspects," "Let's Go Drift" and "High Speedz" illuminate the milieu of Hawaii's import auto and motorcycle racers and stunt drivers. Da Nip's tracks are spare but sufficient, and his lyrics never fail to connect.
"Come and Join Us"
Intering / Roy Sakuma Prod.
While Grammy Award-winner Ingram is talented enough that he could probably get a hit single by singing the classified ads, this CD single, featuring a song he co-wrote with Roy Sakuma to support Sakuma's annual ukulele festival, is a bit more substantial than reciting ad copy.
Daniel Ho adds ukulele to Ingram's radio-ready music tracks, and the Kamehameha School Children's Choir provides additional voices on this earnest invitation to come join this year's festivities at Kapiolani Park Bandstand Sunday.
It is Ingram's distinctive voice, however, that makes the results more noteworthy than similar local efforts at ready-made theme songs and song contest entries. Proceeds will help Sakuma continue to present the festival in years to come. Generous and informative liner notes make "Come and Join Us" an especially fine festival souvenir and a fund-raiser worthy of its $5 price. (See related story.)
John Berger, who has covered the local entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Today section on Fridays for the latest reviews. Contact John Berger at email@example.com
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