- NHK'Koyxeи's Dance Classics material is streaked with colour, as gleefully deranged as the Indian Holi festival. The Japanese producer, real name Kouhei Matsunaga, has roots in hip-hop and experimental music, though these days he nourishes himself on a diet of techno in Berlin. His style is an accumulation of these influences, with bouncy elements contrasted by darker shades.
Matsunaga's latest album for PAN, Dance Classics Vol. III, continues the trajectory set by the first two editions. Tracks like "629" and "341" playfully billow in his signature style—the latter fills the bombastic techno-funk role filled by "112," off Dance Classics Vol. II. In addition to this are the crunchier textures of "501" and "766," an agitated ten-plus minute opus that starts prettily enough but then sporadically threatens to derail, as bugs in the bassbin wreake havoc with the rhythm to the point where the track finally collapses onto itself.
This kind of rhythmic derailment is a central theme on Dance Classics Vol. III. It's explored further on the captivating "768," a track whose layers unfurl and reassemble, its melody pockmarked with little blemishes. Then there's the almost comically aggressive "811," which is like a more violent version of Rrose's 2011 epic "Waterfall." Here the EQing is unpredictable and erratic, as if an agitated cat has been dropped on the mixing desk.
Matsunaga seems hell-bent on fighting the established dos-and-don'ts of dance music. "I want to go outside from these limitations," he said in a recent interview on RA. He slaps his listener across the face just as their attention starts to fade. It's a fight he's winning: Dance Classics Vol. III is at turns challenging, difficult and strange, but it's never boring.