SAWA has been around since 2008 and has released 5 mini-albums to date. It was not until earlier this year that she released her 1st full length. Her first mini-album, Many Colors, was a small collection of clean-cut techno-pop songs, putting aside all the vocoder and autotune that has been highly present in practically all techno-pop groups now. However, to call SAWA simply a techno-pop artist isn't really fair. Her debut album, Welcome to Sa-World presents a large variety of pop songs which mostly throw back to the sounds of house music and shibuya-kei that were present in the late 90's/2000's in Japanese pop. Many of the songs on this album are actually produced by SAWA herself, along with producers like RAM RIDER, Nawata Hisashi, and Takeshi Hanzawa of FreeTEMPO.
Personally, I think this may one of my favorite Japanese pop albums of the year. Although this year has been really good for techno-pop (Sweet Vacation, Aira Mitsuki, Saori@destiny, capsule, etc.), SAWA not only busts out some very, very good techno-pop-esque songs, but stands out by throwing back to the sounds of pre-techno-pop crazy Japan, taking in the influence of the relaxed, summery sounds of shibuya-kei. SAWA explores the usual cute side of pop, while also creating some tracks that are slightly unnerving in a subtle way, notably with tracks like "Swimming Dancing" below. Although I love techno-pop, it's still refreshing to see an artist like SAWA who isn't a robot to her producer and is crafting her own tunes. The songs on the album seem to be approached more personally, and the fact that her voice isn't warped to death probably adds to that feeling. Also, "Swimming Dancing" may be my favorite bizarre techno-pop video since "Secret Secret" or maybe "I Can Fly" is stranger.... I can't decide yet. GOTTA LEARN THAT DANCE.