Various Artists – ‘The Far East Transcripts’ (Hhatri)

The reissue game can often be treacherous, with so much red tape to tread carefully around and in many cases, several different parties to appease. That’s why anyone who endeavours to put rare or forgotten music back into the public consciousness for the right reasons deserves plenty of praise. An acronym for ‘history has a tendency to repeat itself’, you don’t need to sport a deerstalker and smoke a pipe to work out Hhatri is mostly concerned with reissues. Hoping to plunder his imprint for sought after and forgotten gems, the London-based label reached out Far East Recordings founder Soichi Terada and signed up four tracks in an effort to preserve his legacy.

Between 1991 and 1994, Far East Recordings released a slew of tracks that have grown in stature over time. Label owner Soichi Terada and regular partner in crime Shinichiro Yokota were responsible for producing all the label’s music and two decades on, some of the most sought after releases go for outrageously inflated prices on Discogs. As a consequence, Hhatri strived to pull their music out from the shadows and serious collectors finally get the opportunity to own some of the most coveted House music the Far East has to offer.

The A-side plays host to two exclusives in Shinchiro Yakota’s ‘Believe In The House’ and an alternate version of Soichi’s ‘Moments of Samples’. Never before released, both tracks are very much indicative of the time they were made. The piano stabs, organ and diva vocals of the latter don’t feel feel jaded though, while the percussive breaks and unmistakable Public Enemy sample of the former are reminiscent of ‘Golden Age’ Hip Hop.

‘Do It Again’ is without question the centrepiece and understandably so. Equipped with mesmerising, weightless melodies, the track has an effervescent charm, while a mid-tempo percussive swing anchors the floaty melodicism. Only discussed by House aficionados “in hushed tones“, Shinchiro’s 1992 masterpiece showcases an inimitable style that pervades much of the Far East Recordings back catalogue.

Wilson Records overseer Fabio Monesi was responsible was responsible for remastering Soichi and Shinchiro’s originals, so he duly obliged when asked to serve up an accompanying remix. Beefing up the ‘Do It Again’ with a thudding kick drum, Monesi also ditches the alluring lead vocal and throws in some rolling bongo and a few rave stabs for good measure. A new take on a classic, it doesn’t feel out of place alongside the three elder statesmen.

‘The Far East Transcripts’ is out now on HHATRI. Buy it here.

Matthew Blair

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