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STUDIO MULE

The first remixed release from Studio Mule / BGM and it's Portland's RVNG-affiliated Visible Cloaks (aka Spencer Doran)  enlisted to produce two remixes swathed in their beguiliing Japanese-influenced synthscapes. The compiler of our much loved Japanese ambient compilation "Kankyo Ongaku" has remixed two tracks from Studio Mule starting with "Face To Face".

The interestingly titled 'Cathedrale Saint Alain De Lavaur mix' sees Spencer mix the angelic, lilting vocal into a sumptious bed of gentle synth; a duet between voice and synth that soars up to the heavens and remains there, beaming light on everything below it. 

"Yogao" receives an 'Overtone Mix' on side B, driving distant, reverberating piano into a smudged, compressed saturated haze; possibly reversing string like elements so as to reveal, unexpectedly, bursts of light through an inpenetrable grey. Slowly keys, strings and vox all melt into this continuously reverberating scene, creating an almost holy union of sound. 

Mule musiq's sub label studio mule has formed a group of shifting members and now release a debut album with 8 tracks of reworked obscure japanese gems. The album contains the three singles the group released so far, featuring Miyako Koda of the ex-perimental pop band Dip In The Pool -- whose "on retinae" was reissued by music from memory to great acclaim -- on vocals and mule musiq staple Kuniyuki on production with direction by label head Toshiya Kawasaki.

One of them, "carnaval," is a cover of the japanese dance classic by Taeko Ohnuki, produced by YMO. "Shinzo No Tobira" is a remake of the track by Mariah, a band led by sax player Yasuaki Shimizu, from their album Utakata No Hibi -- which was one of the reissues that sparked the global interest in obscure japanese music in the last few years. Studio mule's version features japanese lyrics rewritten by Miyako Koda. "face to face" is a cover of the ambient pop gem from the ultra rare album Desire by Yumi Murata of Mariah -- an album Visible Cloaks are fans of.

Also included is a rework of "Kagami No Naka No Jugatsu," a song by Tamao Koike produced by YMO, turned into a dubby Balearic pop track -- dubbier than the version included on the yen label compilation -- sang by Nanako Sato, one of the artists enjoying some newfound success following a string of reissues stemming from the "city pop" revival craze. The oriental ambient pop "Yugao" by singer songwriter Mioko Yamaguchi is covered by vocalist Saho Terao, whom some describe as this generation's Taeko Ohnuki.

"The April Fools" is a rework of Yukihiro Takahashi's track, which itself was also a cover of the original song by Burt Bacharach. This new version boasts a more experimental arrangement with Nanako Sato handling the vocals. YMO's "Ballet," originally with vocals by Yukihiro Takahashi, was reconstructed into a dance floor-ready instrumental by Kuniyuki. Many say Yoshiyuki Ohsawa's "soshite bokuwa Toho Ni Kureru" is one of the greatest songs of the '80s. The 12" dance version is reshaped here into a melancholic Balearic house track.

The album cover is by the increasingly popular hotshot photographer Kota Shouji, ensuring you get the full package of sonic and visual delight.


STAFF COMMENTS

says: Mule Musiq gather an all star cast of contemporary and legendary Japanese musicians in their studio, put Kuniyuki at the helm and deliver a majestic set of cover versions of the Japanese classics we've obsessed over for the past five years.

Doctor Umezu Diva

Diva

Doctor Umezu Diva is Japanese sax player Kazutoki Umezu’s one off project for which he invited two female artists, one the legendary marimba player Midori Takada, the other the vocalist, pianist and half of Japanese new-wave band Colored Music in the end of 80’s. This album was one of the best kept secret jazz album from Japan. This album is a unique mixture of modern classical sound and avant-garde jazz which is kind of similar with Strata East or Nimbus.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Ltd LP Info: Limited to 500 copies.

Third release of Studio Mule’s new project with Miyako Koda aka Dip In The Pool. Following the cover versions of Ohnuki Taeko’s Carnaval & Mariah’s Shinzo No Tobira,we made the new version of japanese pop ambient classic ‘Face To Face’ by Yumi Murata. Extended edit on a side is full of the respect for the original version and ambient version on b side is simply emotional. The first album of Studio Mule is coming in the beg of next year. Stay tuned.

Over the course of the last two decades, Toshiya Kawasaki has continually worked to introduce the world to a better class of electronic music, whether it be house, techno or ambient on Mule Musiq or weirder-strands of club tackle on Endless Flight. Now, the Mule family launch their latest stable, Studio Mule, taking a brief break from the club with a more diverse musical policy. In reaction to the recent appropriation of Japanese music by Western labels, Studio Mule's first release is a compilation of rare Japanese disco, boogie and soul, so far untouched by the Youtube algorithims. 
Selecting tracks which they thought perfectly soundtracked a night in Tokyo, they arrived at a setlist as suited to home listening as club play, with a wonderful tone of City Pop running throughout. 



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