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VARIOUS ARTISTS / KUMO NO MUKO / JAZZY COUSCOUS

This is a very special project put together by Tokyo based label Jazzy Couscous in collaboration with HMV record shop. Jazzy Couscous previously brought us a killer selection of Japanese house obscurities c/o Brawther and Alixkun in the shape of Once Upon a Time in Japan which focused on artists such as TPO, The Ecstasy Boys & Yukihiro Fukutomi. Kumo No Muko, however, is quite the other thing.

Curated by deep digger Alixkun alone, this blissful compilation shines a spotlight on 80s synth-pop and ambience outta Japan. This was the era of the bubble economy and life sounded good, there was money in the bank and mucho vacationing. Listening to this collection of music is much like an aural hyper-realised, glossy, extended holiday. The colours and sounds are just a fraction brighter, clearer and more vivid than reality – this is a care-free, innocent type of music made of pure atmosphere.

Take Masaaki Ohura’s ‘A Touch of Temptation’ taken off the 1985 soundtrack for ‘You Gotta Chance’ (no, me neither). It’s tropical / fusion vibe strays dangerously close to Muzak, somehow even getting away with THE MOST 80s SAXOPHONE SOLO EVER. But the whole thing is so well executed, the production and playing of the very highest standard and its mood so transporting, that it’s impossible not to fall in love a little.

‘The Mirage’ is pure blissful ambience running on a motorik electro pulse – this is music that unwinds the muscles and frees the mind shot through with jazz sensibilities. And these moods continue to unfurl unhurriedly across the 12 tracks contained here, making this one of the most straight-up enjoyable compilations I’ve listened to in years. No dud tracks – all killer. Full respect to Jazzy Couscous and Alixhun for the obvious attention to detail and care put into this labour of love.

Kumo No Muko is released on 17th September

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