Go Hawaii – Casino Versus Japan

Hidden treasures: Donal Dineen’s forgotten albums

I frequently have great conversations about music and the magic of it, often stemming directly from something I once did. People tell me how they heard this or that song on the radio show one time, and heads were sent spinning from the sound of it all.

They’ve happened in hospital surgeries, churches, chippers and on every corner of every town I’ve ever been. I’ve always time for such chats. It reminds me how subjective musical taste is and how endless is its capacity to help all sorts of people. The common theme is how much it all means. There’s no argument there: Everything.

If I were to compile a list of the music people talk about somewhere near the top would be Casino Versus Japan. I love hearing this. This was always at the front of the maverick box.

It was a thrill being able to vouch for it. It’s mysterious and deeply magical. The story of its maker is one of the great examples of what happens when a star stays underground. These are my kind of soldiers. Heroes on the ground.

It's the creation of a man called Erik Kowalski from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He considered himself a music fan first and foremost and drifted late into making music of his own, having taught himself to play several instruments.

The two records previous to this one are more instrumental ambient music. They are likable but with the addition of a computer to his arsenal, he took his game up several notches.

Go Hawaii is pretty much unclassifiable. Wrapped up in a dreamy hazy fog of technical wizardry is a record teaming with pop tunes. It's hummable in the upper business class bracket. These are the kind of melodies you need in your life. They're life partners. With you all the way, sounding better with passing time.

The manner in which Kowalski used his programming genius to make them sound like they are airborne and free-floating is some kind of sweet little mystery. One of many that beguile this record.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space.

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