There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Techno-whiz Towa Tei goes solo on Future Listening!, building on Deee-Lite’s global-consciousness aesthetic but favoring smooth, easy-listening textures. Future is clubby, but it never gets overexcited, even on the generic-disco “Luv Connection”; this is laid-back dance music for daytime. Towa typically bases his compositions on Latin rhythms, then stirs in worldbeat samples, synthesized violins, and occasional computer beeps. Future‘s most immediately engaging track is “Batucada,” a catchy bossa-nova piece with vocals by Bebel Gilberto, daughter of “The Girl From Ipanema” legend João Gilberto. Gilberto fille‘s mellifluous voice blesses several other selections, including the rap-based “Technova” and the melancholy “Obrigado,” a duet with Arto Lindsay. There are other cameos as well: “La Douce Vie,” a bright cha-cha, is sung in Japanese by Pizzicato Five’s Maki Nomiya. And “Son of Bambi (Walk Tuff)” is Future‘s most eclectic blend of influences; here, Towa layers a sitar riff, a hiphop beat, and vocalist Kinky’s reggae-dancehall toasting. Towa’s thematic choice of an airport, a high-tech hub where diverse cultures mingle, is ideal for this cocktail-chic disc.