By Ana Gonzalez
DJs have infiltrated American pop culture, assuming the “singer-songwriter” position of this generation. Everywhere you look- at parties and among your family members and co-workers- there is at least one schmuck who thinks he can use Pro Tools better than everyone else can. For this reason, I am always wary of listening to the albums or mixtapes of artists with the title “DJ” before their names. I picture them as non-musical computer users with too much time on their hands and an inflated sense of self. However, DJ Kentaro is the real deal. On his latest effort, Contrast, Kentaro is musical and mathematical with his compositions in ways that would make David Guetta want to hang up his headphones.
From the very first track on Contrast, I could tell that Kentaro views his DJing more as art than as dance music, and I respect that. He isn’t a one-trick pony, sticking to the formulaic dub-step party mash-ups like most other aspiring DJs. Rather, DJ Kentaro creates space on his album. For example, after a long spell of intense house music with lightning fast guest rappers spitting their hardest game in multiple languages, Kentaro gives his listeners a break with the beautifully complex and spacious tracks “Lapis Lazuli” and “Crossfader”. These two pieces suggest that maybe Kentaro has explored the worlds of professional computer music outside of Djing while still staying true to his disc jockeying roots, a fact that should garner him respect in many circles of musicians.
Of course, there were the inevitable moments of cheese that accompany the music of most, if not all, DJs (i.e. the video game samples, the incessant nn-sick nn-sick beats, etc.). However, the good outweighs the bad on Contrast. It’s a solid album of vivid music that, simply put, made me want to star in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift while getting to the millionth level of Zelda and sipping on some over-priced hard liquor that has robots in its commercials for no good reason. And I would have a damn good time doing it.