Whether they realise it or not, millions of people know the music of Soichi Terada. After all, the Tokyo producer’s childlike melodies have bleeped out of consoles across the world as the soundtrack to the Ape Escape games. Until then, Terada seemed to be playing a game of his own, one that could be called Deep House Simulator. From the early ’90s onwards, Terada’s Far East Recordings has specialised in Eastern impressions of Western deep house. On Sounds From The Far East, Hunee compiles the best of Terada’s tracks for Rush Hour, alongside a few from his compatriot Shinichiro Yokota.
Parts of Sounds From The Far East are like the aural equivalent of Amerikamura, the Osaka district with a model Statue Of Liberty and the stars and stripes strewn in every window. But whereas that neighbourhood retains a sense of Japanese character beneath all the Americana, Terada’s take on US house and garage isn’t just indistinguishable from its original source—it’s just as good as the real deal. With its pounding piano and diva vocal, “CPM” is a house cut Masters At Work would be proud of. “Shake Yours,” too, is loaded with New York flavour. Terada’s love for that city was reciprocated when Larry Levan remixed “Sun Shower,” a track he produced in 1989 for the Japanese singer Nami Shimada. That one appears here as a reworked instrumental with beefed-up disco stabs, crisper drum fills and a faint echo of Madonna’s “Vogue.” But these guys weren’t only looking to the US for inspiration: Yokota rips Gaznevada’s Italo classic “I.C Love Affair” for “Shake Yours,” and “Purple Haze,” “Low Tension” and “Binary Rondo” all have a breezy ’80s Balearic vibe.
Some tracks hint at Terada’s future career: “Hohai Beats,” “Rising Sun Up” and “Voices From Beyond” are as cute and bouncy as a Japanese video game character. You might also say they’ve got about as many dimensions, at least in emotional terms—although Terada can do chilled, upbeat, jazzy, deep and soulful sounds with equal aplomb, the mood of each track is normally just a variation on “deliriously happy.” But that makes them fun to jump between, and Sounds From The Far East will have many house heads grinning for a full hour.