Zero dB

Though cuts like "Conga Madness" on UK producers Zero dB's Bongos, Bleeps & Basslines boast plenty of the obvious — an explosive conglomeration of organic-sounding world percussion — there are still moments that draw on Ninja Tune's rich history of oddities. The avant-jazz workouts on "Know What I'm Sayin'?" serve almost as scratches between the rhymes of welcome guest MC Pase Rock of Five Deez; his flow is well at home against standup bass twiddling, crazed sax bursts, and piano keys that enter and retreat in the distance à la jazz cutup Ninja Tuners Skalpel. Bongos offers consistent surprises like those. With only a couple of numbers that slip into smoky downtempo beats, Zero dB's main focus is evident in its fuzzed bass-rumbling melodies, sampling, and snare brushes that appear to be miked in a poorly lit jazz bar. There's a wealth of spirited booze music to be absorbed here. — Dominic Umile

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Dominic Umile