V/A – After Ten Years Of Japanese Trance


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Aalborg, Denmark
V/A – After Ten Years Of Japanese Trance

Full digipack artwork: http://www.makura-graphics.jp/images/image/works/elf-01.jpg

Artist: Various (Japan)
Title: After Ten Years Of Japanese Trance
Format: CD (digipack)
Label: ELF Music (Japan)
Cat. #: ELFCD-07
Date: 3 November 2004

Track listing:

01. 08’33†Tri-Force – Interstellar Harmonics
02. 09’21†Hydro Generator - Sunset
03. 08’44†Drap Drop - Poponga
04. 06’52†I.B.I.S. - Reaction
05. 07’49†Elegraffiti – Beneath The Blue
06. 07’53†Theoreme - Ridatsu
07. 07’38†Bug Funk – Cursed Death Rmx
08. 07’48†Phi – Everything Never Can’t Stop Us Dude
09. 08’11†Uni - Adventure


9 lives of the psymurai!

Japanese label ELF Music has made quite a mark of themselves in 2004 – first they released the brilliant debut-album by Phi, and now they’re releasing this ambitious compilation to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Japanese psytrance. My first impression when looking at the tracklist was ‘Where the hell are Tsuyoshi Suzuki and Takeichirou Kurosaki?’ … But the stuff those guys produce today, doesn’t really qualify as psy-trance anymore… What we get here is the new breed of Japanese psytrance-producers + a couple of veteran sumo-producers… A snapshot of the scene!

Let me take you thru the tracks…

#01: [144 BPM] Tri-Force – Interstellar Harmonics
Sha-A is the guy behind Tri-Force, and he had a track on the first Zen compilation on Déjà vu Records… Interstellar Harmonics is a very harmonic, floating melodic track… Long, atmospheric, drifting pads with epic qualities… Kinda reminds me of the first 3-4 tracks of the 12 Moons album Solid State released earlier this year on Candyflip Records… It would fit right in on an Ibiza-compilation… It’s kinda clubby, though with a distinct psy-trance edge… It’s nice and well-produced, but just a tad too well-polished for my taste…Decent track!

#02: [145 BPM] Hydro Generator – Sunset
I’ve never heard of Hydro Generator (DJ Toru) before, but he’s a rising star in Japan and his tracks are also featured on the new USTA compilation Zoo-B 3 – Psypolitical… Sunset is also a well-polished, melodic track – though with a slightly harder edge than the previous track… I like the naïve melodies and the twirling little riffs… Great contrast effect… Also, I like how the percussion evolves constantly playing tricks on you…Oh, and how I love a nice melodic climax – and we get a couple of those in this track… Nice! First half of the track is so-so, but the second half lifts it – lovely track!

#03: [145 BPM] Drap Drop – Poponga
Drap Drop consists of Tsune and DJ E-L5 and again an unknown act to me. I know they had a track released on the Shiva Space Japan compilation Intelligence though… A nice and calm, though kinda weird intro is soon interrupted by a mean ol’ banging bassline… And then, it’s more weirdness… Acid belches, electro farts and digital drama… Combined with analogue synthlines, off-key percussion and a bunch of Nintendo samples… Actually, I’m guessing this is actually kinda normal for Japanese standards… ;o) I do like the galloping acid-parts though – very, very nice! I’m sure this will appeal to fans of both say, Mandalavandalz and Electric Universe… Highly original, though parts of it are approaching the too-weird-for-my-taste factor… Interesting track!

#04: [144 BPM] I.B.I.S. – Reaction
This guy did some tracks for the Xbox game Project Gotham Racing, and if they are anything like this, they’re pretty good! This is a pretty hardcore track with a nice artificial groove too it… Hard-hitting, industrial sounding FX make up the spine of the track… Digital bassline & percussion and metallic whooshes and spiralling sounds add to the overall darkish feel… It’s dark without being scary – very atmospheric! I like it!

#05: [142 BPM] Elegraffiti – Beneath The Blue
DJ Ryo & Kameda are both very active in the Japanese scene – party organizing, DJ’ing, sound-wizardry, etc… Here they bring us a tribal tune that has a very cool, kinda gritty groove to it… The groove is unpolished, but of course it’s intentional – and it’s very nice… I also like drive here – and the small hints of psychedelia… This is a nice little track, without being overly impressive…

#06: [145 BPM] Theoreme - Ridatsu
“Party in Paris!!†… Theoreme is Tadashi Sasaki and he has an album out and tracks on a couple of full-on compilations… After a bombastic, orchestral intro things are soon developing into something even bigger… bassline is added … synths… And more orchestral pomp – and before you know if, the track is in full FX... Great use of stereo-effects here… And this is not your ordinary boring full-on formula track… Just wait until 4’30 when the build-up starts… tension building… you just know this is going to be good… you can cut the excitement with a knife … and then @ 5’52: BAM! “Party in Paris!!†… Climax time – and holy geisha, this is some brilliant full-on… Highly trance-inducing blasting acid-lines… Dance floor napalm! ;o)

#07: [148 BPM] Bug Funk - Cursed Death Rmx
First Bug Funk was Gamma and Mizuki, but now it’s only Mizuki producing what he calls ‘brain destruction’ … And yeah, I can see that… Or rather hear that… This is highly psychedelic music… Ripping 303s and synth-galore… Twisted, to say the least - with naïve, off-key melodies and dark basslines + all kinds of spooky samples and FX… Check out the old-school church-bells – cool! Gamma is trying to scare the shit out of us – and he succeeds… At least I’m freaked out when listening to this… And who doesn’t like getting scared? ;o) Brilliant track!

#08: [146 BPM] Phi – Everything Never Can’t Stop Us Dude
Ahh, Phi – the kings of Japanese tweakage and Engrish track titles! I was utterly blown away by Phi’s debut album Phinalizer released earlier this year on ELF Music… Now Shuji Ichimura & Shinnosuke Masuo brings us another full-blown goa-tune bearing their trademark sound… Highly psychedelic full-on in the good old sense… It’s full-scale, acid-ridden madness guaranteed to make you ass wiggle… Impressive track!

#09: [144 BPM] Uni – Adventure
Uni are Matsuda (Macho) and Yamazaki (Osho) from Kyoto and my good friend Jikkenteki have referred to them as one of Japan’s better kept psy-secrets… And I guess that’s true – for me at least. They’ve been in the game since 1996 and have released 3 albums – the last one in August 04. This is the oddball track of the compilation – with obvious references to other musical styles that you do not usually associate with psy-trance… Well, at least not in the same context as they are used here… Heavy metal guitar, easy-listening piano and all kinds of other stuff… I even think they sampled the Twin Peaks intro… This track is less accessible than some of the others, but after repeated listens I’ve come to appreciate it… I really like the diversity and the special atmosphere this track creates…And the production is flawless… Lovely!

Well, it looks like the Phi-album Phinalizer wasn’t a lucky punch for ELF Music ‘cause this is another very fine release… This is an excellent compilation giving us a thumbnail sketch of what’s going on in Japan nowadays… We really get all sorts here… From light, fluffy morning trance to raw, brutal night trance… And everything in between!

I’m particularly impressed with the acid-ridden full-on tracks – they’ve sliced my brain up like a Hatori Hanzo sword would have! And that’s damn near the best recommendation I can give… Anyone who likes intelligent psy-trance with wabi-flavour should check this out… Recommended!

Arrigato! Kunichowa!

Favourites: 2, 4, 6(!!), 7, 8(!), 9


External link:
ELF Music: http://www.elf-music.net/

Will be out November 3rd 2004. Distribution outside Japan has not yet fallen into place – but rest assured, this will be in worldwide distribution soon… I’ll update this thread with links once the online-shops are sorted…
Nice one DeathP! :drinking:
Uni I want more! So hard to find!
Got only an EP and it is godly! :rocker: