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Yao: Plaintain is Public

by Ami Kealoha in Culture on 26 February 2007

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With an eclectic, densely-layered soundscape featuring everything from re-mixed 70s-era funk guitar over 90s beats to ominous and weird Kool Keith-style sounds, Oakland-based DJ Yao is very much a product of his generation—in the very best of ways. His recently-released debut album, Plaintain is Public, is a seamless trip through different moods and genres, "each track a vignette or short story," according to the press release.

But those looking for mellow background noise won't find it on Plaintain; even traditional Latin music gets reworked and chopped under Yao's hand and he splices in dialogue sampled from films and found sounds, just to name a few of his techniques. The frenetic stops and starts as well as the fluency of his widely diverse references are more hints at the young producer's age, which is to say that Yao's album feels fresh and intelligent, the result of a broad range of influences skillfully mixed into a cohesive and energetic whole. Pick it up from Solos, the SF-based label Yao helps run.

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