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Studio Mule cover 80s Japanese dance classic, "Carnival" by Taeko Ohnuki. A project overlooked by Kuniyuki Takahashi the first guest is Miyako Koda aka Dip In The Pool previously responsible for “On Retinae” on Music From Memory. "Carvival" is the more poppy offering, resplendent with vintage leanings and driven by frenetic analogue synth lines before being decorated with searing guitar lines and darting keyboard notes. "Studio Mules" takes it inside the club with an extended edit and slightly stripped back arrangement, although loosing none of that angelic innocence. Possibly the next big thing to grace Il Bosco's record box?? Watch this space...!

After announcing themselves on the world stage with the wonderful “Midnight In Tokyo”, Studio Mule treat us to a vinyl reissue of one of the best and most complex Japanese jazz fusion albums, 1987’S “Breeze” by group Atlas. Hiroyuki Namba is one of the most important Japanese keyboardists of the 80s with a legacy which includes Japanese cosmic classic “Who Done It?” and “Tropical Explosion”, a sought-after gem by diggers. In addition to his work with progressive rock band “Sense Of Wonder”, he’s also an integral part of Tatsuro Yamashita’s band. Eiji Kawamura is a highly respected arranger who has lent his ear and skill set to projects by major recording artists Kyoko Koizumi and Hideaki Tokunaga. The trio is rounded out by skilled studio musician Toshiro Imaizumi, whose innovative keys have graced releases by Ichiro Nitta and Tazumi Toyoshima amongst others. The album opens with the soothing sounds of ocean waves, an evocative introduction to the melancholic fusion number “Mediterranean Breeze”, which sets the Balearic mood for the whole album. “Simpatia” is an album highlight with a euphoric feel that could be Tokyo’s answer to the sounds of Ibiza―an obscure Japanese gem. 'After Brunch With You” is a sunny samba fusion with a playful, bright piano melody, followed by “Summer Breeze,” an electric fusion jam that sounds like a lost Holger Czukay composition. Breezy mellow tune “never come into your eyes” reminds you of the sentimental feeling one gets around the time summer’s about to be over. Another album highlight, “Indige,” is one of Japan’s most unique dance tracks of the time, an electric disco stomper that sound like it could’ve been produced by Todd Terje. “Breeze For Siesta” features Toshiro Imaizumi’s beautiful piano paying, a relaxing song that wouldn’t sound out of place on ECM. “Love Beach” blends prog influences with fusion in a way only Hiroyuki Namba can, while the album ends with “Madrigl,” a magical song with dramatic and melancholic moments, full of quintessentially Japanese sense of beauty.


Patrick says: Another week, another Japanese classic, and this time it's another gem I've been begging gets reissued. Thankfully Studio Mule have heard my prayers, delivering an excellent pressing of Atlas' uber-Balearic jazz fusion winner "Breeze". Alongside coastal coolers "Mediterranean Breeze" and "Simpatia" be sure to check out the electrodisco insanity of "Indige".

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. 


Patrick says: Mule's latest sub-section, Studio Mule opens its account with a great thirteen track selection of Japanese disco, boogie, soul and city pop, bringing something a little different to the current trend for Japanese music. I'm in, Ryan Horsebeach is in, how about you?

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