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Cosmocities

Denshi Ongaku No Bigaku: The Aesthetics of Japanese Electronic Music Vol 1 - Various Artists

Denshi Ongaku No Bigaku: The Aesthetics of Japanese Electronic Music Vol 1 - Various Artists

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Still on and about after years of the most intense crate digging, gem mining, desperate head-scratching and avid schooling, thirsty as ever for the next musical thrill to wrap our ears and brains around, here comes the fruit of our life-long love story with Japanese electronics, Denshi Ongaku No Bigaku Vol. 1 and Vol.2.

From the soul-fulfilling first crush felt upon hearing the iconic soundtrack of ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’ by Ryuichi Sakamoto onto our release of Inner Science ‘Cosmo Tracks’, through the life-affirming sets of Laurent Garnier at Dijon’s seminal club, l’An-fer, which have at all times nurtured and expanded our taste for Easternmost delicacies, the influence of Japanese music on our vision and endeavours was paramount to the development of our catalogue, whether directly or indirectly.

This first volume gets the ball rolling with a fine assortment of mostly ambient, electronica and deep house-focussed joints. Draped in organic membranes and ASMR-like synth tapestries, K. Inoue’s nu-agey opener ‘Em Paz’ takes us on a ride across the most serene dreamscapes. Jazzing up these lush and oneiric coastal vibes, Gabby & Lopez ‘Drive form the Miracle’ merges a sense of Californian psychedelia with a straight out hard-bop swing. No stranger to our catalogue, Inner Science returns to serve up a crystalline slice of laid-back house on a mystique-imbued tip he holds the secret to. Flip it over and here comes Aquarium with the splendidly immersive ‘Rainy Night in Shibuya’, which very much feels like wandering amidst its neon-upholstered streets and swarming hallways in a bubble of your own.

Naohito Uchiyama treats us to a synth-drenched nocturnal ballad with the ‘80s-inflected vibes of ’Shugetsu’, whereas Keta Ra cuts a path of ethereal sublimation via the mischievously fun and bouncy balearic lounge of ‘equals’. Masterly crafted by Yuu Udagawa, ‘Infinite Possibility’ eases us in a realm where weightless pop and low-slung abstract hip-hop combine to further exhilarating effect. All in harp-driven brittleness and velveteen sub-bass stealth, Noah ‘Gemini - Mysterious Lot’ has us drifting to a lavishly orchestrated headspace, laying down an impressive work on textures and arrangements. All in on the sedated drip-tease flex, Sauce81 ’Sign of Secret Love’ is a blast of freaky hedonism, just as ready to cast its hypnotic spell down the sweatbox as it was upon its original release ten years ago.

Languid jacking house tune ’Tai+Dai’ from Keita Sano blows the winds of discoid luvin’ across the room with its impeccable balance of sharp, glimmering synthwork and driving bass onslaughts from the depths. An odd slice of reshuffled folk music, Waltz ‘Folkesta’ makes for some eerie invitation of sorts, enchanting and spookily haunting in equal measure. Back to a fevered, hip-swaying mindset, Kuniyuki hi-NRG jazz number ‘Free’ is an absolute wonder of piano and drums-driven boogie, cut from the same cloth as some of Blue Note’s finest Cuban jazz classics. Rounding off the package, Japanese legend Ken Ishii’s version of Larry Heard’s house Hall-of-Famer ‘Can You Feel It’ is pure bliss in a can, tailored to turn any crowd into a shapeless cloud of balmy euphoria and universal love, whatever the place or time.

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