At the close of one of the most triumphant and uneventful decades in human history (the 1980s), a rogue bunch of international musicians banded together in New York to form a sound that would define a generation on into a new millennium. That group was Deee-Lite and that sound is best exemplified by “Groove Is In The Heart”
It’s the same party-hop-type dance song with lead female vocal, optional male rapper, and driving beat that was probably invented with Technotronic’s “Pump up the Jam” and would resurface through the first half of the 90s with club bangers like “Gonna Make You Sweat“, “Rhythm is a Dancer” and street anthems “Get Ready For This“, “Theme to Space Jam.” If the space occupied by Deee-Lite is not a historical one, it is an era for which we 80s babies harbor a certain feeling not unlike nostalgia. (Read a li’l more about Deee-Lite here and here)
But lo! In the middle of this cultural movement is Dong-hwa Chung, born September 7, 1964, originally from Tokyo, Japan, better known by his stage name, Towa Tei. As a DJ, Tei was an essential architect on Deee-Lite’s first two albums, helping engineer some of the most infectious dance music EVER RECORDED. However, prior to the release of the group’s third album, Tei departed to work on a mysterious project which would ultimately become his debut solo album Future Listening! The album features the bossa nova-infused “Technova” and RnB coolout jam “Luv Connection,” both of which were top-30 hits (i.e. BANGIN OUT THE CLUB) in 1995. Check the vid for “Technova” which not only showcases Tei’s production acumen, but his unique visual style/personal brand; homie sorta looks kinda like art deco.
- “I Want to Relax, Please!” – digital horn-filled opener complete with movie samples and frantic percussion
- “Batucada” – Gameboy bossa nova featuring Portuguese/English vocals , and a mean drum break
- “Technova” – You already know
- “Obrigado” – slow, lovely, guitar-driven Portuguese duet about a word that sounds like and means the same thing as Arigato, but really has nothing else to do with it
Bonus Question: is any of this Japanese music????