Hiroshi Watanabe ‘Sync Positive’

Hiroshi Watanabe / ‘Sync Positive’

CD / Digital

Klik Records / Released April 29th 2011


What does it sound like?

Sublime dance-based quality. Epic melodies to the scale of blissful trance married with the dubby grooves of deep techno, all set to the pace of early evening house music. A little like Pulshar, only not rooted in bass culture.

Tracks like Sublime Secrecy carry shades of Lawrence, with a symphony of arrangements merging to form something tantamount to a classical score. But there’s greater depth here, and so the second album from Hiroshi Watanabe (under his own name) becomes a worthy addition to the archives of electronica with a shelf life, as oppose to being merely harmonious club fodder. Which isn’t surprising, considering the Japanese chap behind it has been making records for some time, under his real identity, along with monikers like Kaito and Nite System. Did we also mention he majored in Composition at Berklee College of Music in America? See also- immersive.

Where would I dance to it?

There’s some difference between the two ends of Sync. On the one hand there are heartbreaking downbeat outings, equal parts emotionally draining and impossible to find in a club. Then fare like Message from the Sky would go down well at any deep house and tech affair, while Gemini comes in with all the atmosphere, hypnotics and expansiveness of any Bedrock event as the crowd gets warmed up.

What highlights can I expect to hear?

Scent of Tomorrow will be the one that stays with people longest, though not just because it’s the only track that’s actually a song, and it finishes the album. Beth Orton and the like would be proud, as we’re given something that really can be rated alongside the best from the annals of female vocal downbeat, all slight lyricism, sombre pianos and distant chimes.

On a slightly similar note, despite being driven by firm four fours, Sleepless Dream melds school-bells and twinkling keys with slumbering chords, before finally setting too with heavier kicks. And prog fans won’t shy away from Soul Traveler, which carries a wave of synth on a rolling barritone, building into space-like nothingness. Overall though, we’d say Light to Bright wins out, which isn’t dissimilar to Swag’s more euphoric output, and should fit neatly into countless genre-based collections, soaring strings and all.

Why should I buy it?

Athens-based Klik isn’t the biggest label, and Watanabe’s albums far from frequent. Taking that into consideration, do the right thing.

Where can I buy it?

Astral Music, What People Play.