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Hiroshi Watanabe

by Mark Jarnes

Special To The Japan Times

Tokyo-based DJ and producer Hiroshi Watanabe, who has also worked under the monikers Quadra, Tread and more recently Kaito, recently released the mix compilation “Contact To The Spirits 2.” Watanabe is now on the final leg of a tour to promote it and stopped for a moment to tell The Japan Times about his favorites.

Opening Number: Birdcage — “Somewhere Far Beyond” [Foureal Records]. This guy is based in Sapporo and I love him! His tracks never fail to hold new discoveries and strange surprises, and this one in particular stands out from other ambient productions that always capture what’s become his trademark atmospheric style.

Golden Oldie: Paper Moon — “51 Days” [Touche]. Originally I started off using only vinyl, so there are so many songs I could name in this category, but even when this record went digital, I continued to hold the same respect for it. It’s a multifaceted and versatile piece.

New Classic: Petar Dundov — “Rain (Echospace Reduction)” [Music Man Records]. I have included this tune on a previous mix CD, and it never fails to raise the temperature on the dancefloor. I have also included an Echospace track on my latest album, which is essential listening. Dense and deep, Dundov’s sound just can’t be copied.

Floor Filler: Jun Yamabe — “Yomichi.”

Jun Yamabe is one of my favorite Japanese artists. His tracks are glistening, unique and full of vigor.

Must-Listen: Newworldaquarium — “The Tide You Can’t Feel” [NWAQ]. Most of his tracks incorporate a solid foundation of bass and drums that are layered with really well-produced melodies, which creates a bottom-heavy — yet floating — sensation. In a scene where simplicity is celebrated, this artist does brilliantly in creating works that are rich in expression.

Set Closer: DJ Yogurt & Koyas — “Geshi (Kaito Remix)” [Horizon]. Out of my own recent remixes, I’m particularly happy with this one. The original track is just great. In Japanese the title translates to “summer solstice,” and its lyrical nature really epitomizes a certain Japanese-ness — one that I have tried to express in my own way.

Hiroshi Watanabe plays Dommune on Aug. 1; and Air in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on Aug. 3 (10 p.m.; ¥3,500; [03] 5784-3386). For more information, visit www.dommune.com, www.air-tokyo.com or www.hiroshiwatana.be.