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New Tofubeats: “Baby”

Tofubeats’ major-label forays thus far have leaned heavy on guests, and they’ve mostly worked. The Kobe producer has teamed up with classic idols, E-Girls, rappers and more. With forthcoming album Fantasy Club, out in May, it looks like Tofubeats is focusing on himself. Based on the available tracklist, his third Warner-associated full-length is low on guests — Young Juju of rap outfit Kandytown stops by, as does the artist Sugar Me, but that’s far fewer and far less prominent guests than before. And, jumping off of last year’s “Shoppingmall,” he seems focused — when I talked to him late last year, the vibe I got was of someone wanting to do something different, with that pointed rap number serving as a clue.

“Baby” shows the softer side of Tofubeats, focus on “Tofubeats.” This is a fluttery (strings!) number, one that avoids both the outright dance sounds at the front of mainstream J-Pop and the laid-back stylings on the come up. Rather, it’s hazy and heartfelt, more a stroll with layers revealing themselves over the course of the song. Central to it, though, is the familiar digi-sing of Tofubeats himself — this used to be central to like, every Tofubeats song back in the day. Yet his music has never sounded this lush (again…strings!). Listen above.