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Aux 88 Presents Black Tokyo

Aux 88

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Album Review

The Detroit-based duo of Tommy Hamilton and Keith Tucker have returned with their first full-length CD in several years, and it's simultaneously rooted in their home city's electro/techno legacy and a step forward. They've adopted Japanese pseudonyms (Arashi Hoshino and Shin Muramatsu), the significance of which is unknown, and brought in two Japanese female vocalists, Erika Tsuchiya and Akiko "Ice Truck" Murakat, as a contrast to their own soft voices and the occasional computer chip voice. The music is an ultra-clean brand of Kraftwerk-descended techno, with occasional jarring sounds (a woodblock-ish drum sound on "Black Tokyo" is particularly obtrusive) that never quite disrupt the smooth-riding feel of the music as a whole. The album's most appealing tracks are the entirely instrumental ones; the vocals are frequently annoying, saying nothing — chanting the title phrase over and over again, for example, or murmuring dance music platitudes like "Now is the time/Feel the rhythm/Free your mind/Free your spirit" ("Stance"). There are a lot of pieces on this long CD that would sound great as components of a DJ set, but despite its Japanophile concept, it doesn't really hold together as an album.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s

Since forming in 1993, Detroit-based electro-techno group AUX 88 have spearheaded a '90s-style rewrite of the breakbeat electro-funk of the early Motor City sound. Often referred to as techno bass, the style integrates elements of early Detroit and New York electro, Miami-born bass music, and the dark, gritty analog edge of Detroit techno, AUX's releases (mostly through the similarly styled Direct Beat label) are typically uptempo, bass-heavy party rockers in line with Detroit classics such as "Cosmic...
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Aux 88 Presents Black Tokyo, Aux 88
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