Prolific doesn’t begin to describe Japan’s Keita Sano, who has come seemingly out of nowhere to become one of the most unique new voices in electronic music thanks to a wildly eclectic clutch of releases for much-hyped labels like 1080p, Joakim’s Crowdspacer, Mister Saturday Night, Spring Theory, Discos Capablanca and more. Building on that buzz, Sano is unleashing still more head-twisting takes on house and techno via New York’s Most Excellent Unlimited.
Label boss Paul Raffaele has found a kindred spirit in Sano. Their shared love of classic dance music and refusal to let genre or convention define their work makes MXU a natural home for the “Sunset EP,” coming as it does on the heels of the category-smashing “Oyama Edit” 12” and a 7” of drum track edits by disco king Danny Krivit. Diverse and unafraid to upend expectation, its hard to imagine a party where at least one of these jams wouldn’t set things off.
The title track mixes discoid guitars with lush pads and a echoing handclaps, anchored by a deep, chugging bassline. It’s the kind of track that’s begging for a dance floor building towards hands-in-the-air release. “Chango” shows off Sano’s rhythmic proficiency and fondness for killer samples, tweaking the raved-out formula of “Onion Slice” for deeper dance floors.
The drum attack continues on “Nothing For Nothing” which pairs a massive batucada groove with ecstatic synths, whistles and afro-inflected strings carrying the melodic weight. Sano closes out the proceedings with a deft rendition of the sort of fuzzed out techno that’s coming in waves on labels like Lobster Theremin. Changing the mood dramatically, “Daze” substitutes a storming distorted kick for the sampled drums that came before, layering fuzzed out claps, martial snare patters, spaced-out cymbals, and miasmic synths that strobe like a rescue beacon on a dance floor flooded with smoke.