Soichi Terada - Apes In The Net

  • The Soichi Terada renaissance continues with a reissue of jungle cuts taken from his soundtracks to the Ape Escape video games.
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  • If there was any danger of it going overlooked, Soichi Terada's legacy has been secured within the past decade. In 2015, YouTube rip of a song misattributed to him (rather than his peer Shinichiro Yokota) went semi-viral, leading to lauded reissues of both his and Yokota's music on Hhatri. That gave way to the much bigger and much deserved retrospective compilation Sounds From the Far East on Rush Hour in 2015, made up of his bubbly—and just plain fun—early house music work. He even returned to the genre for the first time in 25 years with Asakusa Light in 2022, an album that despite its decidedly retro style felt just as exuberant as his earliest work. But all that is only half the story. By the mid-'90s, Terada had shifted his attention to jungle and drum & bass. He tested the waters early with 1996's Sumo Jungle, a decidedly laid-back take on the genre full of unexpected vocal samples and filled with the same warm synth tones he brought to his earlier material. The release caught the ear of a game director at Sony working on a new video game called Ape Escape, where the teenage hero Spike must travel across time and space to capture all the monkey minions the evil genius monkey Specter has unleashed to take over the world (this isn't anywhere close to the most ridiculous conceit for a kids' game from the late '90s). With this absurd premise, Terada used the sudden abundance of radically different settings and situations the game needed to truly explore as many different aspects of his newly favored genres as possible. Apes in the Net is the first time this material is getting a proper vinyl release in the US, but its a mere sample of the nearly five hours of music he made for both the first and third games in the series. Taken largely from the original game, these selections favour the darker and more frenetic tracks that appear later as it becomes more challenging. Opener "Specters Factory" speaks to this, its kick an unrelenting pounding to the forehead, while synth lines hiss and buzz like a hacked computer network. "Coaster" and "Haunted House" both demonstrate Terada's fondness and grasp of bass: the former song morphs bass into an elastic, taut spring that invokes Shy FX's earliest singles with smoother edges. The latter utilizes deeply murky Reese basslines that emanate a creeping sense of dread the longer they ooze out. But as much as Terada knew speed and constant frenzy were the keys to keeping a player alive, bits of his old style can't help but slip in. "Mount Amazing," the only track from the third game, is built on gorgeous stuttering synth lines that contrast the delicate piano melody at the song's core, giving the track an innocent charm despite its unsteady nature. "Time Station," which served as the soundtrack for the orbiting space satellite base players hung out in before jumping into a new mission, is the most effortlessly beautiful composition, guided by a whistle-like synth line above muffled and sputtering drums pushed into the background. There's a wistfulness at play here, the twinkling notes dotting the song as the player stares out to the worlds they must save, one of the few moments of peace in all the chaos. Each track on Apes in the Net feels like it's been keenly selected to showcase Terada's sonic range during this era, from the manic to the soothing depending on what the game called for. It also says so much that this release doesn't even cover 20 per cent of the music composed during this era. Hopefully Apes in the Net is only just the start of a reassessment of what Terada did during this time. There's far too much amusement and joy here for this to be the last word on it.
  • Lista de títulos
      01. Specters Factory 02. Coaster 03. Spectors Castle 04. Haunted House 05. Mount Amazing 06. Time Station