The One

The One

by Shinichi Osawa


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The One

Shinichi Osawa's first proper full-length under his own name is a masterful electro trip brimming with wild dance beats, loads of distorted techno and sampler sounds, and wisely chosen vocalists and co-producers. Far more bass-heavy and dancefloor-oriented than his mellower Mondo Grosso work, The One will thrill the cult fans who adore his contributions to the Lumines game series. Opener "Star Guitar" is an emotionally brittle cover of the Chemical Brothers original, with pretty shoegazer voices courtesy of the Au Revoir Simone trio layered into six minutes of propulsive, yearning electronic clatter and release. On most other albums, it would be the highlight, but all 14 tracks here (except perhaps the intermission-like "The Patch") are stunners. Osawa displays influences from acid house to Detroit techno to Basement Jaxx-like dance-pop to New Order-style sequencer workouts, all the while crafting his own warped style of crispy, burnt beats and notes. "Detonator," "Dreamhunt," and "Push" are all in the Basement Jaxx vein of confident, edgy female vocals over sexy beats, but there's some intangible quality to Osawa's delivery that makes for less cheesiness and a greater sense of cool. Working with Princess Superstar, Rubies, and Ania, respectively, on those tracks, he mans the boards seemingly with ease, tweaking all the right knobs to make all three songs cohesive and suggestive, yet varied in nuance. Akihiro Namba's surprisingly touching vocals on "Our Song" recall Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, and Osawa and the Ultra Brain leading man work together to make the song an exuberantly jubilant dance anthem. As adept as Osawa is behind the soundboard, he's just as good at picking collaborators. In addition to the vocalists above and Yoshito Tanaka's guitars, he gets fine production help from Alexander Technique, Tim & Vass, Anu Pillai, and the brothers Ryukyudisko. The Lumines crowd might especially appreciate the instrumental "Last Days" and the similarly constructed "Foals," which adds alternately pensive and mad 1980s-style vocals from Nelson (not that goofy soft metal act). These tracks feel like sister productions to Osawa's Lumines 2 song "Stroll Around the World," an over the top electro screamfest collaboration with Thee Michelle Gun Elephant's Chiba Yusuke under the moniker Star Casino. "State of Permission," co-produced with Anu Pillai, is perhaps the album's most traditional concoction and an organic heartbeat of a song with Tamara Barnett-Herrin's pretty voice riding chilling basslines reminiscent of Martin Hannett. On a handful of solo pieces, Osawa lets out all the stops, crafting magic carpet rides of lush keyboards, semi-squelched samplers, and vintage techno effects. The One is a varied yet cohesive masterpiece and a sensory overload of dynamics, emotion, style, and outright joy that in a perfect musical and economic climate would instantly position Shinichi Osawa at the top of the dance and electronic genres.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/31/2009
Label: Downtown
UPC: 0827091012329
catalogNumber: 123

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