How much wide-eyed wonder can a body take? If you're a Kaito fan, the answer had better be "plenty." If you figured that time might toughen Tokyo neo-trancer Hiroshi Watanabe's sonic outlook, let your brain soften up enough to think again. Here—you can use his third album (not counting the beat-free companion volumes the first two came with) to help.
Is this unfair? Clearly, Kaito is interested in one effect above all, and on Trust, as on his prior work, he achieves it with what seems like a minimum of effort. That's not to call his music minimal—not in the least. A track like "Rainbow Circles" piles on soft strings, submerged beats and harp-like pads; they billow, bloom and blossom repeatedly. "Nothing Could Be More Peaceful" utilizes fewer elements—a spangly synth riff, subtly filtered, occupies the track's center, abetted by pointillist countermelodies—but its gauzy, rainy-day feel is epic nevertheless, and when "Too Good to Be True" begins smearing its two-note synth runs into one another like street-lane lines merging, it's disorienting in a widescreen sort of way.
Of course, lots of smart people will see those track titles and run as fast as they can in the other direction. They have a point. There is zero irony on a Kaito record, and if Trust can be said to contain a dramatic arc, it's one that builds from everything-feels-good ecstatic to holy-fuck-I'm-seeing-God ecstatic. That can be a little much. However enjoyable I find Kaito's music—and frequently on Trust, that's very enjoyable—it's so willfully diaphanous and gauzy that it eventually wears you down, like an E that won't stop charging even after you're exhausted.
I recently played this album while my girlfriend—who likes techno but isn't any kind of adept—was over. At the beginning we both noted how nice it was. By the time it reached the last two tracks I was mock-throwing-my-head-back-and-waving-my-glow-sticks-in-the-air-like-I-just-didn't-care, exactly the way the alt-rockin' jerks who used to make fun of me for going to raves back in the early '90s used to. I kind of hated myself for it afterward, but lord, did the music's Care Bears steez invite it. If you're only going to do one thing, do it really well. Kaito does just that. But that's it.
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Tracklist: Kaito - Trust 01. And That Was the Way
02. The Breath of Spring
03. Rainbow Circles
04. Nothing Could Be More Peaceful
05. Too Good to Be True
07. We Are Living Here
08. It Happens Suddenly
09. Reach for Your Mind
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