Forty-one (maybe forty) years ago, the Japanese D.I.Y label Soft released an enigmatic compilation album titled "Soft Selection 84 - A Nippon DIY Wave compilation". Over the course of thirteen tracks and nine different acts, Soft welcomed listeners into an alluring world of post-punk, art-pop, ambient, no-wave and proto-house music being willed into existence by a generation of left-of-centre Japanese musicians who were obscure then and mostly remain obscure now.

One of the clear standout acts across "Soft Selection 84 - A Nippon DIY Wave compilation" is the La Sellrose Can Can group, who sound like a mixture of Tom Tom Club and "Tutu" era Miharu Koshi on their uptempo dance pop-rap track "Aerobicise." Later on in the compilation, they also turn in a superb new wave meets electro number via the squelchy synths, machine beats, VGM melodies and wavy vocals of "Happy Morning".

Three of the thirteen songs included on "Soft Selection 84 - A Nippon DIY Wave compilation" were created by the Soft label's founder, Goro Some, aka Clä-Sick, who also served as the compilation's producer, scouting out talent between his own recording sessions. A trilogy of glossy ambient, no-wave, and proto-glitch electronica pieces, his contributions to "Soft Selection 84 - A Nippon DIY Wave compilation" serve as an apt stylistic sampler for the range of styles on display.

Aside from La Sellrose Can Can, another intriguing contributor is Picky Picnic, an avant-garde group that went on to record three well-received albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, exploring a fusion of experimental punk, new wave, technopop, and children's music. On 'Sume ba Mikayo', they summon up a chaotic singalong that could very easily be the soundtrack to an apocalypse. Later in the compilation with 'Kibo No Asu', Picky Picnic blends lounge singer-songwriter tropes with fuzzy guitar stabs, hectic handclaps and an odd dollop of nonsensical syllables.

That said, there's not a lot on this compilation that lets down. On 'Unit 25', Linolium delivers some deliciously melodic early YMO-type technopop. A couple of songs later, Pink Label serves up some galloping chanteuse-style post-punk with 'Good Luck' before Name takes things down a kankyō ongaku meets library music alleyway via 'N.H.K.'

That said, my main takeaway from "Soft Selection 84 - A Nippon DIY Wave compilation" is that sometimes the best approach to curation is just sticking with the original curation. By taking the time to keep this reissue true to the original early 1980s version, Madrid's Glossy Mistakes label has opened a portal into the past. Once you step through the door, it's easy to spend time there. Just one more replay. Just one more listen.

"Soft Selection 84 - A Nippon DIY Wave compilation" is out now through Glossy Mistakes (order here)