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Various Artists
JAPAN FOR SALE VOL. 3
Sony Music Japan

By PHIL MEADLEY

Published May 2, 2006

The concept of Japan For Sale is an enticing one. The series started as a promotional CD (Japan Not For Sale) in 1999 and received such critical acclaim Sony felt compelled to release it as a series proper. The album sets out to showcase new Japanese musical talent, but trouble arises when trying to figure whether a definitive Japanese sound has actually emerged. Certainly there are some great tunes here, but all have strong Western leanings. Goku’s “Time” is a perfect example, with jazz-dance overtones, hip rap refrains and luscious vocals seeping through the mix. DJ Krush is a well-respected hip-hop producer who specializes in sparse, angular beats, and “The Lost Voices Featuring Sly & Robbie” proves he has lost none of his touch. But is it particularly Japanese or simply the universal sound of rap? Admittedly, Matally’s dub-heavy “Four Seasons vs. Yo-Yo-C” is sung and rapped in Japanese, but it’s pure Jamaican at heart. Probably the closest we get to a definitive hybrid is electro-pop group Polysics and their Devo-esque “Black Out Fall Out.”

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