Further Ill Communications

Despite a reputation for producing experimental electronic music, the prolific British label Ninja Tune manages to maintain a fairly high ratio of signal to noise. The group Up, Bustle and Out‘s Light ‘Em Up, Blow ‘Em Out is a perfect example. If the flute on a track titled “The Beautiful Lure” compares favorably with Ill Communication, don’t expect the association to let up before the record’s end. Though most of the UB&O’s previous releases relied on samples rather than on traditional instruments, this new record suggests that the group is attempting to stake its own claim for marrying studio wizardry with live performance; guests include a pianist, rapper, singers, and tabla and sitar players. The results are somewhat reminiscent of a certain trio of former rap parodists, what with the album’s ersatz downbeat grooves and heavy borrowing of Indian music, jazz, and street sounds. However, there are moments of admirable contemplation amid the party. A track titled “Rain in Tibet” is just that: a steady eaves’ drop of rain, backed by muffled, candid voices, and graced by so small an amount of melody as to figure more like a distant memory. And “Y Ahora Tu” does more with a splash of water and a funky drum loop than one has previously imagined possible.