I really feel like I experienced the music of the 2000s from an ideal vantage point; I was a high school junior when the decade began, around the same time I started thinking seriously about what music meant to me. As a result, going back through the music from the early 2000s has been a crazy nostalgia trip. How insane is that concept, by the way — nostalgia for the 00s!
While working on my list for pitchfork’s ‘best albums of the 00s’ feature coming out in late September, I spent a lot of time listening to the music I explored in college (‘01-‘05), when I first discovered just how expansive of a world ‘music’ really is. I think one of my main problems with the way many people write about music generally (not excusing myself here) is simply that the writer’s lens is focused only on what’s in front of it, without regard for what else is out there, oblivious. Not that you should or could cover everything; more that a self-awareness of your blind spots leads to smarter coverage. But more significantly, and this is exceptionally difficult: it’s about remaining open to the possibility that the music that moves you most profoundly could come from an entirely unexpected direction.
This record was put out on Kompakt, a Cologne, Germany-based techno label. It is by a trance artist from Japan named Hiroshi Watanabe, aka Kaito. On one significant level, his debut record Special Life is perfect. Perfect as in the music has no clear flaws, a surface of internal reflection so smooth that you feel your own emotional motion reflected back at you. Everything in the music is layers, each poised with zenlike balance, always topped with one more beautiful melodic trick than you deserve (yes I’m Catholic), its ceaseless rhythm perfectly congruent to your pulse (in spirit if not BPM).