In the 1999 PlayStation game Ape Escape, the main character, Spike, begins his journey in The Time Station, a hub where he accesses the game's different stages. As he shuffles through the area, which has a space-age-M&M-store feel, a jungle track with melancholic whistles, warm subs and meditative keys is the soundtrack. The music was composed by Soichi Terada, and if you heard Sounds From The Far East, RA's favourite compilation of 2015, such moments of crystalline beauty will be familiar to you. When Hunee, the compilation's curator, came to choose the tracks, he was assessing an artist and label that both started out in the late '80s. Leaving to one side Terada's work in soundtracks, video games and as one half of the group Omodaka, Hunee focussed on the early '90s, a period when Terada released an exquisite string of tracks on his own Far East Recording that were inspired by the first wave of US deep house. Terada's style fizzed with musicality—he studied electric organ, an instrument his father introduced him to, and on classic tracks like "Sun Shower" and "Saturday Love Sunday" his melodic proficiency was dazzling.
Skip forward to 2016 and Terada is an artist reborn. Sounds From The Far East caused a fresh surge of interest in his music, which has led to him touring extensively and releasing new music. His live show has also become a talking point: Terada is a whirlwind of good vibes behind his keyboards, and if he isn't smiling when he plays RA's stage at this year's Sónar festival you'll know that something is very wrong.
Terada's RA podcast makes for a great companion to Sounds From The Far East, in that it exclusively features Japanese house music. Shinichiro Yokota—whose track "Do It Again," a bona fide classic, was included on the compilation—is well represented here along with artists like Sloper and SEKITOVA. There's an alluring outsider quality to these tracks, as though the classic deep house template had been subtly but noticeably refracted.
- Resident Advisor