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Audio Asia Deep: 10 subterranean essentials for serious connoisseurs

From cosy clubs to back-rooms, check out this summers heaviest underground cuts from across the continent

  • Patrizio Cavaliere
  • 11 August 2020

Asia knows how to do it deep, and here at Mixmag Asia, we delight in digging up esoteric gold for your heightened listening pleasure. The clubs might be shut for now, but the finest underground technicians and labels affiliated to the region have continued unabated in their respective quests for sonic perfection. Here, we present to you (in the loosest of orders) some of the highest quality releases we've unearthed over the past few months aimed at those who prefer it profound. So, be it a back-room session or a sundown spectacular, a heads-down rave or an at-home meditation, the tracks on this list come from newcomers and legends alike, and all are certifably excellent.

1 JRMS 'Shake'

Title: Shake
Artist:
JRMS
Label:
Gudu
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Fantastic release from Peggy Gou's Gudu, and a great bit of A&R from her to boot. On his 'Bullseye EP', London-based newcomer JRMS delivers four deliciously raw cuts that burst with character and pop off the speakers. Bona fide techno funk of the highest order, all tracks are worthy of attention. 'Shake' is our pick here, and it does exactly as its descriptive title suggests!

2 Luciano 'Luci Neu House'

Title: Luci Neu House
Artist:
Luciano
Label:
Mule Musiq
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Swiss-Chilean master-of-minmal Luciano arrives on Japan's Mule Musiq for the first time with a suitably classy double-pack. The Cadenza boss knows very well how to make his stripped beats speak, effortlessly using repetitive grooves to hypnotise listeners.

3 Keita Sano and Pleasure Cruiser 'Blackout'

Title: Blackout
Artist:
Keita Sano and Pleasure Cruiser
Label:
High Hoops
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Balls-to-the-wall acid house on this devilish effort from Berlin-based Japanese producer Keita Sano and wingman Pleasure Cruiser. Quality comes as standard with Keita, and this rough and ready cut is fully authentic warehouse music. Part of the new four-track 'Tokyo Horoki Part 2 EP'.

4 Mogambo 'Matum'

Title: Matum
Artist:
Mogambo
Label:
Siamese Twin
Release:
Coming soon, you can pre-order it here

A fresh project from Bangkok-based Sunju Hargun and Jerom Doudet, Mogambo deliver their four-track 'Cobra EP' on new label Siamese Twin. Rich in mystical textures. A highlight of the record is held-down mid-tempo groover, 'Matum'. Deep, dubby, and rich in Eastern atmospherics, carefully placed pads and synth swirls delight as the heavy kick drives the rhythm.

5 Knopha 'Gym Alpha'

Title: Gym Alpha
Artist:
Knopha
Label:
Regret Sound
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Emerging Chinese talent Noah Li (AKA Knopha) returns after a short break with this stripped-back percussive number. Featuring on a hugely impressive three-track EP via brand-new Chinese label Regret Sound. We don't know too much about the imprint yet, but if the first release is anything to go by, it's one to watch for sure.

6 Okinawa Delays and Max Essa 'I Can't Sleep'

Title: I Can't Sleep
Artist:
Okinawa Delays, Max Essa
Label:
Archipelago
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Balearic gold via the tropical island of Okinawa, Max Essa works his usual magic to provide a honeyed backdrop to Satoko Ishimine's serene vocals. The release comes complete with versions from Pete Herbert and Leo Mas with Fabrice. Sunset essential.

7 First Floor 'Unrequited Feelings'

Title: Unrequited Feelings
Artist:
First Floor
Label:
Quintessentials
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Upcoming Japanese producer First Floor serves up a slice of straight up house music with a classic feel. Gorgeous bass rolls under piano stabs and lush pads, giving the track a subtle US garage flavour. The EP came complete with Kez YM mix which introduced it into techier territory.

8 Studio Mule 'Carnaval Superpitcher' (Main Mix)

Title: Carnaval Superpitcher
Artist:
Studio Mule
Label:
Studio Mule
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Wonderful remix of last years Italo disco/ J pop hybrid from Kuniyuki and Taeko Ohnuki. Utterly different from the hi-energy original, the Superpitcher main mix pulls things back as the warm dub bass rolls and percussive synths and congas enliven the super mellow track.

9 Mallorquín 'Ótimos Tempos'

Title: Ótimos Tempos
Artist:
Mallorquín
Label:
Palms & Charms
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Hong Kong and Tokyo based label Palms & Charms shows class with a superlative EP from co-founder Samuel 'Mallorquín Bruce. Cosmic Balearic music at its brilliant best, 'Ótimos Tempos' is embodied with cultured and esoteric influences while retaining an identity of its own. Mellow but just a little freaky.

10 Kenkou 'Everlasting Dreams' (Calm Still Dreaming mix)

Title: Everlasting Dreams (Calm Still Dreaming mix)
Artist:
Kenkou
Label:
Hell Yeah!
Release:
Out now, you can buy it here

Bliss-inducing horizontal grooves on this remix from Fukagawa 'Calm' Kivotaka. Released last month on the always reliable Italian label Hell Yeah! The remix of 'Everlasting Dreams' unfolds over 11 plus meditative minutes and is perfect for sunset manoeuvres.

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