I first became aware of Kyoto DJ/artist Halfby aka Takahiro Takahashi when I saw the Groovisions video for his track Rodeo Machine at onedotzero‘s 2006 digital film festival in London. The Airside-esque visuals and funky upbeat tune won me over, and I’m pleased to report that the rest of the album the track was taken from is similarly bright and buoyant.
Green Hours is cut-and-paste sample beats and pieces designed for the simple purpose of making you dance, smile and just plain enjoy yourself. Much of Halfby’s work seems inspired by 70s happy-go-lucky records favoured by The Go! Team, with an element of Fatboy Slim mixy tricks – and amongst the dozen tracks on Green Hours, there are some that can certainly sit alongside the best such company have to offer. The rap mash-mixathon of Bring it Back is an early highlight, Man&Air and Coro Coro Sound System are grin-inducing heel-kicking celebratory anthems, and the soothing super-cool Bathrobe and album closer Soulful Lover Puppy ensure that Green Hours kicks rump throughout.
Best track though would have to be Flicker Song, a blissful carefree masterpiece that would suit an early evening trip to the seaside or an Amazonian boat-trip as much as it would a montage of a 70s all-female crime-fighting trio taking time out from busting perps for a shopping trip.
There’s a childish playfulness to Halfby’s music (as also shown in the wildlife-centric videos and album art) that make it so endearing, but at the same time it also results in the album’s only two clangers. Admittedly, West Jungle March is quite cute and brief, but it breaks up the flow and feels a little unnecessary. However, Girls at Bass School‘s embarassing reworking of This Old Man is so ‘down wid da kidz’, it’s inexcusable. But even if these two pour a little pee in the party punch, they are bunched together and easily skippable.
Overall, Halfby is a DJ that requests your utmost attention and Green Hours is provides a near-perfect soundtrack to any party. And now that I have seen him live in action, my appreciation of the album has increased and I will be sure to check out his other work when I have the chance.
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