Studio Mule drops “Anthologia”, the final chapter of a close look on the work of the Tokyo born DJ and producer Takayuki Shiraishi, a jack of all trades, that sways through Tokyo’s vast music scene since the late 70’s, a time when post punk grooves called the tune. As part of the band BGM he released in 1980 the album “Back Ground Music” on the legendary Osaka based underground label Vanity. Last October Studio Mule reissued BGM’s no wave, free funk mini-mal treasure. A few Month earlier Studio Mule already published “Missing Link”, a thrilling retrospect on Takayuki Shiraishi's unreleased material from the late 1980s, a creative period of which only a little ever saw the light of the day.
And now “Anthologia”, a record that is dedicated to his work during the years 1990 to 1996, a time span, in which Shiraishi moved on to produce house, downbeat and playful electronica. In 1995 he released the ambient/techno 12inch “Spectral Colours” on the R&S sublabel Apollo under the alias Planetoid. Two years later he manifested his techno leaning creativity under his given name on the album “Photon”, a record that helped launching Japan’s techno scene. It was followed by two more long players, that display his wide musical taste with ambient, house, breakbeat and other genre blending styles. Besides producing, Shiraishi was also a prominent figure of Tokyo’s club nightlife, DJing alongside Jeff Mills as well as Krautrock icons like Holger Czukay.
“Anthologia” features three unreleased tunes of this lapse of time, as well as highlights some work Shiraishi produced together with his friend Jun Sonohara as Musica Nova and a hidden gem he tuned in for the “Isolated Audio Players 1” compilation, published by the Tokyo based Pickin' Mushroom Recordings label in 2000.
The three unreleased tracks display his love for diversification. “Distant Thunder” is a drone driven ambient voyage, that slowly melds into a gentle rhythmic sensation driven by loose hi-hat patterns and a soft chord crescendo. On the opposite, “Lapis Lazuli” comes around as a mellow melodic downbeat trip enlarged with twisted rhythms and cosmic infiniteness. “A Voy-age” shows his love for house music with a grooving arrangement that comes close to the kinky house gems of contemporary producers like Lowtec. Also, the already known “Isolated Audio Players 1” compilation tune “Flicker” is located in the house spheres, delivering nervous jacking minimal vibes emerging from a precise produced dance of melodies, grooves and sound effects.
In comparison, the four Musica Nova tracks show again another side of Takayuki Shiraishi’s many musical talents. “Birds in Paradise” is an elegant triphop tranquilizer, while tunes like “Nocturnal Tribes” and “Green on Green” express his passion for electronic arrangements that think out of the box with airy melodies, slow-motion big beat rhythms, jazz particles and an overall cosmic sound complexion. The tune “Shifting Sand” goes the same direction, while adding esoteric reverberations and a touch of Drum and bass.
Together the eight tracks turn “Anthologia” into something more than just an anthology of Takayuki Shiraishi’s work. In association, all compositions work like an album that overwhelms with a reasoned story-arc, who slowly rises to a hypnotizing peak, from where all downswings to a calm finish, that makes you want to start all over again.