London label, Cosmic Soup, celebrates the music of Japanese producer, Susumu Yokota, across 4 vinyl sides of classic and previously unreleased work. The collection focusses on Yokota`s 246 alias – a reference to Tokyo`s Shibuya district and an affectionate nod to Detroit`s 313 area code. Compiling tunes completed during 1995, dating from a time when DJ Pierre’s wild pitch, and Relief Records back to basics approach, were reviving raw Chicago jack. Momentarily closing the schism that had opened up between the schools of techno and house.
The 246 releases, originally signed to Japanese imprint, Reel Musiq, could quite happily have slotted into the catalogue of the aforementioned Relief, or that of likeminded Dutch counterpart, Djax-Up Beats. Demonstrating the same phenomenal funk of, say, Tim Harper’s I Know You’re Gonna Dig This, and an insistent bottom-end throb that owes a definite debt to Ron Trent`s Altered States. Tribal thumping, accompanied not by King Tubby`s flying cymbals, but hammered high-hats. Tracks that are totally synthetic, yet packed full of soul.
There are Plastikman-esque 909 workouts, bumping that recalls Boo Williams battling with Glenn Underground on K. Alexi`s Maad, and pieces, suites, that share the deceptive complexity of Dan Curtin`s Apogee. To deliver these dynamite dynamics successfully by shifting only 3 or 4 elements – bass, kick, renegade snares and maybe one extra synth – in and out of the mix, is, of course, super, super, difficult. It requires considerable mastery, genius even, to create cheese-free dance-floor fillers that don’t need a gimmick, a breakdown, or a hook.
Sure there are details which distinguish each cut from the last – singling out their significant swing. Abstract, acidic, patterns, alien alarm signals, deranged, delirium-detonating discordant riffs, flashes of fractured piano, fuzzed, and fizzing rave fanfares, synergising on sheet metal symphonies where rhythms sometimes run backwards and rimshots ricochet off into space.
Cosmic Soup released 246 Classic & Unreleased Parts One & Two this week – to commemorate Susumu Yokota`s sad passing on March 27th, 2015.