Various Artists

Heisei No Oto: Japanese Left​-​field Pop From The CD Age, 1989​-​1996

This is the second compilation of obscure gems released by Amsterdam label Music from Memory in as many months and, damn, it delivers. Whereas the previous collection, Virtual Dreams: Ambient Explorations In The House & Techno Age, 1993-1997, was a little too out there for my taste, Heisei No Oto… really hits the spot, a veritable treasure trove of eccentric Japanese pop. Everything about this screams ‘80s vibes, from the abundant synth and harp melodies to the requisite cheesy saxophone solos sprinkled throughout the whole thing. Synagetic Voice Orchestra’s “A Tale” kicks things off with some ambient, new-agey goodness, while Hiroki Ishiguro’s “Unity” sounds like a long-lost Sade song. All around, this album is badass and I can’t recommend it enough.

Heisei No Oto