Elusive Japanese producer Takuya Matsumoto makes a welcome return to release action, forging five authentic retro house grooves on the '85-88' EP.
Never one to rush his productions, the enigmatic artist has employed a quality-over-quantity ethos to his release schedule since emerging way back in 2001. His latest work arrives a full five years since his last '(Some Lost) Time' release. He's made a habit of crafting a slow-but-sure trickle of high grade releases for the likes of Fina, Iero, Meda Fury, and Clone Royal Oak, with his latest work finding a home on the latter's Clone Jack For Daze offshoot label. His elegantly sculpted sounds are rooted in a vintage, early house aesthetic, and have won the Tokyo-based artist a fervent appreciation among in-the-know selectors and collectors. True to his back-catalogue, the '85-88' EP bursts with retrospective charm, with FM and analogue synths and full-bodied machine drums utilised to mesmerising effect across the collection.
Though the EP is somewhat misleadingly presented as a selection of rediscovered tracks from the vaults, we have it on good authority that the music is, in fact, newly-formed. Opening track '85' comes on like an early Mr Fingers roller, with rolling acid bass pitched over evocative pads and fizzing analogue drums. Continuing in a similar vein, the rush-inducing pads, spoken word vocal and dramatic bass notes of '86' maintain the atmospheric thrust, while '87' ups the energy for a raw, jacking journey into acid house. Finally, the closing track '88' is arguably the most aberrant of the set, with seductive vocal slices riding over stripped drums and deviant synth bass. Fans of proto-house and early Chicago deepness will likely be enthralled by each track, and '85-88' marks the most welcome of returns for Matsumoto San.
Takuya Matsumoto '85-88' is out now, you can buy it here
Patrizio Cavaliere is Mixmag Asia's Music Editor, follow him on Instagram