Shinichi Osawa is a quintessential Japanese electronic musician up there with Yasutaka Nakata in terms of versatility and just how long he’s been putting out consistently good music. Whether you’re a fan of his solo house oriented efforts or you’re more into his MONDO GROSSO project, you’ve got to admit the man knows how to put out quality tunes no matter what he’s up to. Active since the early 90s, you think by now he might be coasting on the edge but no, he changes up his style, pursues new ideas, and keep things fresh all while not sacrificing the unique qualities and technical competency of his music. No wonder 88 Rising wanted him for this new RHYME SO project.
Putting Shinichi Osawa’s incredible legacy aside for a second, everything about the debut RHYME SO single and video is extremely up my ally. ‘Just Used Music Again’ has Shinichi going back to his four to the floor house roots and injecting them with android consciousness with the help of vocalist Rhyme. A mixture of her actual singing and Osawa crafted highly infectious ear-worm vocal edits give this grove a futuristic, purposefully artificial flavor that I’ve personally had on repeat for a half hour. Plus, the extremely aesthetic nu-y2k cyborg girl in the video? I love it.
I also love the fact that 88 Rising is willing to put something like this out. Paying more attention to them last year than this year, I’ve mainly known the label to be a hip-hop adjacent outfit. They did work with the Japanese-British net-pop sensation Rina Sawamura on a song last year, but it seemed very one and done. While I love the cultural and international collaboration the label has promoted in the past, in terms of actual interesting music that I’d personally be excited for, RHYME SO has piqued my interest more than anything else.
It seems like there will be more from RHYME SO and 88rising to come.