Soichi Terada
Asakusa Light



Release Date: 01/07/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Blue beats for your pleasure, reheat at your leisure

Most artists should count themselves lucky to be remembered for any one reason. Soichi Terada boasts three, in descending order of celebrity: as a video game soundtracker, as a pioneer of ‘90s Japanese house with his Far East Recording label, and as an early Japanese importer of UK jungle with his 1996 LP Sumo Jungle. Being a pioneer doesn’t always lead straight to lasting glory: come the new millennium and the latter two accolades were superseded by the former, sliding off the table into the realm of historical footnotes. There they stayed until Rush Hour’s reissue of select cuts from the Far East catalogue, Sounds From the Far East, in 2015.

From there, the internet did its good work: Terada received a renewed wave of interest over his ‘90s output, so much so that he felt compelled to return to his old equipment and methods in the hope of releasing his first house record in twenty-five years. Asakusa Light is the fruit of this, one of those chicken/egg moments when an artist attempts to respond to their own legacy for an audience who, for the most part, weren’t around for the source material; it’s an inception that brings to mind Sweet Trip (whose presence is further recalled at points by Terada’s phased-out synth pads, albeit tangentially). Quite the foundation. So, uh, how is it?

Well, full disclosure, I was unaware of Terada’s house credentials until after hearing Asakusa Light; he came onto my radar when I saw Sumo Jungle on a historical overview of drum and bass, and this album seemed little more than a conveniently timed excuse to get to that one faster. I’d very much like to read a dissection of how this record revives/surpasses/falls short of the particularities of Terada’s ‘90s house canon from someone suitably qualified, but I honestly preferred it with next to no context than with the weight of a major stylistic comeback foisted on it. This isn’t really a criticism, although it is belied by a lack of ostensibly wow-ing moments, something no doubt destined to be amplified tenfold by those still incapable of differentiating deep house from the amorphous catchall of ‘background music’. By that token, it’s not much of a compliment either; Asakusa Light is as unlikely to generate hyperboles of its own as it is to thrive under any superimposed on it. It does respectably, enjoyably well as an often twinkly soundtrack for urban twilight strolls or study hours.

To that end, its tracks are as unextravagent yet meticulous in construction as they are unambitious yet satisfying in scope, each offering an even-handed but largely unwavering exploration of one or two simple ideas for a handful of minutes, reticent to overstay their welcome. There’s a respectable diversity of beats (well, cymbal patterns) between, but not within, cuts; the same goes for overall tone. Nothing here flips the script on whatever groove or atmosphere it starts out with, but Terada does well in offering a spread of minor variations of mood across the album. “Blinker”, for instance, is a standout that hints at a more propulsive sound with an engaging bassline (his apparent forte) and noirish chime motifs, while “Double Spire” lays on washed-out synths to explore more languid territory. Such details are welcome flecks of colour on an occasionally monochrome starscape.

At the end of the day, this record easily holds together by the sum of its parts, but it’s too straightforward and unassertive to posit a knockout standalone attraction. Most paths of critique will stem more from overbearing expectations than anything it does specifically ‘wrong’, while those who get the most out of it will likely have the shrewdest sense for the moments it pairs with. I’d say those are worth sniffing out; Asakusa Light’s good qualities, its slick arrangements, its unhurried, gently mobile pulse, its cleanness and crispness, deserve a life of their own. If you have to find their spark of ignition elsewhere, then that’s on you. Study with it, drive with it, cook with it, walk with it, sleep with it [on]; do whatever you do best with unimposing house beats expertly crafted to tint your midnight blue. And then do it again - peace and luck!




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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2022


44131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

This is absolutely not the review this album needed, but I highly doubt anyone else was about to write on it, and so...

Soichi Terada is good at what he does and what he does is good for your daily schedule

Digging: Astrobrite - Pinkshinyultrablast

normaloctagon
January 13th 2022


7900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yoooo. a nice read for a more than likely nice album. and a nice pun at the end. i will listen to this

Digging: MF DOOM - Special Herbs 7,8

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2022


26776 Comments


I was tempted to check it so gonna do that now.

Digging: Anna von Hausswolff - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival

normaloctagon
January 13th 2022


7900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dewi and i listening to the same album at the same time in different parts of the world the internet is truly a (beautiful) place

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2022


26776 Comments


Indeeeeed

normaloctagon
January 13th 2022


7900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

definitely a case of classic '90s producer harking back to their old sound and not quiiite being able to revive it but still making serviceable tunes. your write up is pretty bang on in assessment especially the concluding paragraph



a totally pleasant listen and i encourage others to check it out. then go listen to Sounds From The Far East!



three cheers for Soichi Terada!

parksungjoon
January 13th 2022


39228 Comments


>Genres Deep House
>Garage House, Balearic Beat

bruh

Demon of the Fall
January 13th 2022


22453 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'At the end of the day, this record easily holds together by the sum of its parts, but it’s too straightforward and unassertive to posit a knockout standalone attraction.'

This sums it up for me, very pleasant listening nonetheless. I'd 3.2/3.3 this if I could, which is the quintessential Demon 'this is cool/good shit, but can't see it becoming a future staple' score.

Digging: Dark Millennium - Acid River

parksungjoon
January 13th 2022


39228 Comments


>something no doubt destined to be amplified tenfold by those still incapable of differentiating deep house from the amorphous catchall of ‘background music’.

tell em to check this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx-s1JlQ8Yk


no jungle in this bih doesnt spark joy tho

normaloctagon
January 13th 2022


7900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

underground house music is being reviewed by staff u be grateful for ur supper

parksungjoon
January 13th 2022


39228 Comments


sm0k muzyki

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2022


3798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh hey nice this is nice

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2022


44131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

"a totally pleasant listen and i encourage others to check it out. then go listen to Sounds From The Far East!"

gonna get there boss, i promise!

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2022


1745 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a totally pleasant review and i encourage others to check it out

house is kewl

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2022


1745 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh park, how on earth is that actually this dope, my goodness. seems a terrible idea on paper

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 13th 2022


67207 Comments


Johnny you have the most performative music taste I’ve ever seen in my entire life

bloc
January 13th 2022


67530 Comments


A lot of this is reminding me of Mr Fingers and the other originators of Chicago house

Digging: Matthew Good - Avalanche

HelloJoe
January 13th 2022


139 Comments


As a side, Ape Escape is fun. They should bring that series back.

Enjoy reading this, Johnny. Appreciate it!

Gyromania
January 13th 2022


33434 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is about as dull as lounge drum n bass gets

HelloJoe
January 13th 2022


139 Comments


"Ain't no Ape Escape." says Gyromania



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