I’m often (never) asked “Kaito, you delicious slice of apple pie, how on Earth do you decide on which of the many top class Japanese music acts to write about each week?” Well, sometimes it’s an act I’ve had in mind for a while. Sometimes it’s what I’ve happened to be listening to that week. However, this week I was drawing a blank so I entrusted myself to fate: I set my “brand name portable media player which isn’t getting any free advertising” on shuffle and told myself “The next Japanese artist to appear in the playlist shall be the topic of this week’s column!” Fate chose SEXY-SYNTHESIZER: An upbeat mix of 80’s video game sounds and electronic vocals.

Takeshi Nagai: Founder and frontman of SEXY-SYNTHESIZER

Quick Guide:
Line-up: Takeshi Nagai (+ various collaborators.)
Years Active: 2006 – Present
Genre: Electronica/Chiptune Groove
Kaito’s Choice Tracks: “Calling Me” (2008), “Fly” (2009), “Superstar” (Feat. Chihiro) (2013)

I’m glad fate chose SEXY-SYNTHESIZER. They might not be the biggest name on the Japanese chiptune circuit – that title would go to the much mellower ensemble “YMCK” – but SEXY-SYNTHESIZER is definitely my favourite. Founded in 2006 by Takeshi Nagai and working with various collaborators over the years SEXY-SYNTHESIZER’s output consists of original compositions, remixes of classic hits – including “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” – and producing and track-mixing for a number of hip-hop, R&B and electronic artists.

While SEXY-SYNTHESIZER’s remixes are fantastic it’s their original work that first caught my eye. “Calling Me” – from the primarily remix focused album “Funky-Bit” – is one of my favourites. After the initial burst of retro sounds during the introduction the tune simplifies itself, allowing you to focus on the song’s vocals which include some fantastic harmonies and – although it’s difficult to determine what’s actually being sang thanks to the vocal effects – it’s a song that makes you want to sing along.

Trippy 80’s video effects in the PV for “Calling Me”.

“Fly” – from SEXY-SYNTHESIZER’S follow up original content album “Rock” – gives a euphoric feeling of…Well, flight. Perhaps it’s just me, but closing my eyes and listening to “Fly” paints a picture of the beginning of a grand adventure that begins with a running leap that launches you into the air, soaring high above the ground on a crystal clear day! Soaring ever higher the adventure that starts with Fly continues throughout the album.

…Or something. Sorry. Weird fantasy over. But have a listen to “Fly”, you might understand where I’m coming from:

SEXY-SYNTHESIZER once again goes overboard with the 80’s nostalgia in the video for “Fly”

My final pick of SEXY-SYNTHESIZER’s back catalogue is from their most recent release “POP!”: A mini-album collaboration with vocalist Chihiro. Released earlier this month the pairing is a match made in heaven: Chihiro’s voice fits SEXY-SYNTHESIZER’s uplifting style perfectly, with the track “Superstar” being a prime example of this:

Superstar (Feat. Chihiro) from “POP!”

So those are my picks for SEXY-SYNTHESIZER. Of course there’s much more to explore! As I’ve mentioned previously their remixes are worth checking out – especially if you enjoy electronic and/or chiptune tracks – and there are dozens of remixes to check out, not to mention the rest of the original compositions from SEXY-SYNTHESIZER. Check out the (English-language!) links below for more:

Official site: http://www.sexy-synthesizer.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SEXYSYNTHESIZER.SPECIAL
Bandcamp: http://sexy-synthesizer.bandcamp.com
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sexy-synthesizer

Until next time!

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