There`s a trio of terrific of new Nihon sevens here…..
A Mountain Of One tease and taunt Western “balearic collectors” by teaming up with the divine Dip In The Pool, and releasing the results only in Japan. The 7, with its striking “Koi In Dub” artwork, is in shops now – check quality stores, such as Jetset, Newtone, and Ranamusic. Musically, the song, Soft Landing, is a shoosh of spiraling sequences and gentle hypnotic chimes. A complex, layered, city pop, arrangement. Sophisticated, rich, and romantic. Theremin-like frequencies signaling the start of some stratospheric keys, and subtle space-rock guitar work, while Miyako Koda`s iconic fragile croon, her broken-hearted balladry, conjures a theme that might play out as the credits roll on an unresolved, unrequited, art house love story. The protagonist spinning, singing, sighing, talking to herself.
Masato Komatsu`s Slowly cover Curtis Mayfield`s classic, Tripping Out, in their now characteristic lush, lovers rock style. Skanking to ska brass, the sweet vocals come courtesy of Jamaican singer, Courtney John. Originally released in 2018, this has now been reissued with a stunning 2022 Soul Mix on the flip. It`s this that I reckon will have discerning musical folks wigging out. A throughly modern stepper, it`s a sure-to-be, soon-to-be, future soul weekender smash, and the sort of side that normally gets revived by Expansion Records. Proper blissed-out, loved-up, acid house / balearic beat backroom business, this’ll rival standards such as Al Green’s Keep On Pushin` Love, Arthur Miles` Helping Hand, and Teddy Pendergrass` Believe In Love.
Cruisic, though, perhaps take the disco biscuit, with their cracking cover of 808 State`s late `80s Mancunian rave anthem, Pacific. The Japanese duo snapping the timeless tune to a sort of computerized post-Soul II Soul shuffle. Littered with loon birds and rainforest wildlife, they squeeze in some clipped, cool and breezy guitar, while the synths set off on a space age fusion jam / journey. A truly joyful joint, it reminds me of the sublime mellow reprises that you’d sometimes find hidden on the b-sides of early `90s Italian house scream-ups. Johnny Parker’s Love It Forever, for example, springs to mind. This is countered by 4 Beat Club Version, which is a seriously syncopated jazz quartet remake. Contrabass and a brushed drum battery accompany some quality, classy piano, as a sax solos, riffs on the song’s unforgettable signature refrain. Swinging, baby, cymbals crashing, like the surf that it wears on its sleeve – a marvelous “mash-up” of the OG`s David Smart / Royston Edwards / Accident At The End Of History design, and Katsushika Hokusai`s world famous Mount Fuji view. Released on Record Store Day, I’ve got a feeling that this one’s gonna be super sought-after, highly collectable, in a big way. It`s got summer stamped all over it. The keys and reeds really flying in the final third.
A huge Thank You! to Eitetsu Takamiya at Flower Records, and Mo Morris of A Mountain Of One.