Tokyo’s United Future Organization produces and remixes artists, programs clubs and club nights, designs fashion and, as a sideline, has a hand in the future of international funk. Led by DJs Toshio Matsuura, Tadashi Yabe and Raphael Sebbag, UFO is a unique blend of hip-hop style, raw soul grooves and acid jazz cool. While the elements are common enough, UFO’s deployment of them is wildly creative. Much of acid jazz is little more than homages to hard soul, bop and Roy Ayers paid via more recent influences; UFO strives to reattain the music’s essential feel, recombining it with samplers, turntables, live musicians and whatever else is handy. United Future Organization samples Lenny Bruce on top of a Jack Kerouac beat monologue for “Poetry and All That Jazz” and still manages to outweigh the sum of the song’s parts; Jon Hendricks steps in for a transcendent funk bop reprise of his “I’ll Bet You Thought I’d Never Find You.”
No Sound Is Too Taboo further entwines samples with live instrumentation, refining and expanding on the ideas central to the debut. Part of the fun is that the elements present are so varied and unlikely that the discs convey the excitement of a night out at a hip club. French, Portuguese, English and Japanese are sprinkled throughout, while samba, soul, hip-hop and jazz all bump into each other like acquaintances on line for the bathroom. This UFO is the musical equivalent of the party scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.