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Album Review: Soichi Terada - Asakusa Light

Welcome back to the playful and wondrous world of Japanese video game composer and producer Soichi Terada.
Soichi Terada 'Asakusa Light' Cover Art

Soichi Terada - Asakusa Light

Producer, DJ, and video game soundtrack composer Soichi Terada has been a pivotal figure for video game scores. He may be best known for the Ape Escape soundtracks, but he worked on other games as well like Sumo Jungle and Futari no Fantavision. His solo releases extended beyond the video game realm, but still kept some of the that secret sauce. Since 2015’s Sounds from the Far East, his production rate has seemingly taken a step back, but now we have a good reason why. He has released a new solo album Asakusa Light that captures the magic of his deep house.

The Japanese composer keeps things simple with this project. He crafts bouncy rhythms with playful melodies that often hover over top like water rolling down well-worn, smooth rocks. Asakusa Light grows slowly over its 48 minute runtime. He explores gentle piano house like on “Marimbau” or the sturdy rhythms of “Bamboo Fighter,” which bring out the best of his work melding Japanese and Western traditions. An airy flute flutters over chunky synth pads and kick drums.

All of the songs have a clear and heady kick, but then it is the other elements that help bring out the best of the album. A slow-moving organ and airy pads guide “Diving into Minds.” Things get a little softer towards the end with songs like “Blinker.” It ends with the hopeful and soaring finale “Epoxy Lamp” that captures the full mood of the project.

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It has been almost seven years since Soichi Terada’s last album, but the wait has been worth it. The composer and producer kept things simple with his wondrous world of deep house that is playful and joyous. Get your copy of the LP here.

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