Finally available in the U.S., this long-player from Tokyo multi-instrumentalist, ace remixer and super-DJ came out in Japan in late 2007 but sounds timely nonetheless. After all, it was only a matter of time before a Japanese sound stylist embraced the fried electronics of new-school blog-house and electro’s synth crunch. Shinichi Osawa surfaced in DJ sets last year with a remix of Digitalism’s “Pogo,” which hardly prepared us for the majesty of his sprawling and ultracatchy album, which is already a huge hit at home. No wonder.
The former acid-jazzer—his Japanese jazzy deep-house act Mondo Grosso was utterly massive at home—has moved on from his signature downtempo stylings and embraced the searing basslines of Simian Mobile Disco on young DJ-ready tracks such as the club banger “Detonator.”
There’s a nod to shoegazer rock on the Britpop reworking of the Chemical Brothers’ “Star Guitar.” Halfway through the tune, Osawa enlists a vocal from Brooklyn naïfs Au Revoir Simone to create a vision of heavenly space travel. It’s simply one of the best things you’ll hear all year.
On “Our Song,” he constructs dream pop-punk that will appeal as much to Cornelius fans as young Daft Punkers. Osawa boils down the basics of drum machine, throbbing bassline and suggestive gasping on the sexy electro number “Electro411.” Between that and the boogie electro of “Dreamhunt,” he delivers one of the more elegant twists on nu-rave going. Alongside U.K. labelmates such as the Black Ghosts, Osawa has shown that an experienced hand can take the trends of the moment and make them shine as we didn’t know they could.