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Some sort of sad techno, tropical hell. – Tiny Mix Tapes on Wifehood

Ariana Grande – Positions (Wifehood Edition) is out now.

See also – The Hell We’re In / The Future


Despite the current prevalence of Chill Beats and To Study To Music, both steeped in a form aesthetic appropriation, the House music scene in Japan has been largely ignored by Western audiences. Perhaps the insistence/love of purposefully dated ideals puts it at an arms length away, but the House music that has come out of Japan over the last 20+ years is in a bubble of untouched gold.

The biggest names tend to lean toward Tech and Deep House, but the aforementioned aesthetics that are popular now are rooted in this type of music. Japanese House music differs from other cultures not just in its use of traditional chord structures, but because many of the artists experiment in ways that create layered references lost on the global House scene. Soichi Terada, perhaps the biggest and most diverse artist on this mix, uses other Asian cultural references in order to fuck with Westerners.

Using Korean text of Chinese chords as a joke that’s lost on those not involved. His label Far East Recording is responsible for cultivating a deep catalogue of many different styles. Everything from straight forward Techno, all the way into purely Traditional Japanese vocal music. It’s this playfulness and lust for a forgotten youth that permeates out of the tracks on this mix. Artists like De De Mouse have fused house with some drugged out version of Passion Pit to produce instantly painful nostalgia, while Pax Japonica Groove go straight to piano based wistfulness you can dance to.

I selected a completely diverse selection of artists ranging from innovators in the scene to fresh artists just finding their footing. It’s hard to date many of these tracks as they all flow together in a way that suggests a collective whole. As a westerner it takes more work to understand just how deep some of these seemingly simple House tracks go, but once you start to dissect what is there you find a wealth of inspiring and fresh sounds. The entirety of the YouTube Chill Anime Girl Music would not exist without many of these artists blazing the trail. Yasuko Agawa has been experimenting for decades with fusing Disco/House with Japanese pop and her take is miles different than Hiroshi Watanabe’s bursts of colorful light. This is a far from comprehensive collection of all that Japanese House has to offer, but these 19 tracks will introduce you to a perhaps unfamiliar world of amazing music.

Tracklist

Omodaka – Kirakira Bushi (Far East Recording)
Shinichiro Yokota – Right Here! Right Now! (Far East Recording)
D.K. – Marimba Theme (Antinote)
Soichi Terada/Larry Levan/Nami Shimada – Sunshower (H-Track Edition) (Shadowprint)
Ko Kimura/Satoshi Tomiie – Transmission (Futic Recordings Tokyo)
De De Mouse – Growing Up (Not Records)
Rei Harakami – Grief & Loss (Muscmine)
Pax Japonica Groove – Beautium (Office Premonition)
Hideo Kobayashi/Momoko Saito/Aiko Morita – Melody To You (Aiko Morita Remix) (Fuente Music)
Yasuko Agawa – I’m gonna Make You Love Me (Victor Entertainment)
Kuniyuki – Newwave Project 7 (Edit Version) (Mule Musiq)
Kaito – Rainbow Circles (Kompakt)
So Inagawa – Kakyuu (Kirapica)
Hiroshi Watanabe – Light To Bright (Music In The Deep Cosmos)
Tomomi Ukumori – Only You, Only Tonight (Hideo Kobayashi Remix) (Ode Music Entertainment)
Satoshi Fumi – Lite and Breez (Fountain Music)
Force of Nature – Loopadiction (Jimpster’s House Mix) (Freerange Records)
TSUTCHIE – Flowered (Sync Twice)
A-Bee/Tom Vagabondo – Urlaub Im Bhutan (The Tea Bay Records)

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