SAISEI founder Junki Inoue continues his vital archival work uncovering the riches of Japan’s distinctive electronic music scene and bringing them to new audiences around the world. The Sounds Of Transonic compiles six tracks recorded in Tokyo between 1991 and 1995 and released by the pioneering Transonic label, founded in 1994 by Kazunao Nagata and active until 2004.
Transonic’s catalogue is a glittering roll call of the scene’s major players, whose inventive and genre-blending work established forward-thinking house and techno in Japan in a way that would shape the country’s electronic sound for years to come. Transonic was instrumental in giving exposure to the work of these artists with its emblematic series of CD compilations, released over a short couple of years in the mid 90s. Beginning with 970-1450km/h, Feedback and Range, the series also included The Roots Of Transonic, featuring music from parent label Trigger. Alongside these compilations came much sought-after solo albums each packaged with striking cover art that makes the discs a visual treat for collectors to this day.
The Sounds Of Transonic brings together six tracks from the catalogue into one breath-taking package. The influence of hi-tech jazz and machine funk from Detroit is undeniable in ‘Dream Trance’ (Mind Design) and ‘Blasting Soul’ (Interferon), while ‘Under The Ground’ (Palomatic) and ‘Chelsea’ (Suzukiski) are permeated by the artificial intelligence and trip hop emanating from the UK at the time. The compilation is bookended by two tracks by Nagata himself (as Organization): ‘Space Ball’, a Model 500-worthy chase through the cosmos, and ‘Call’, an eerie echo of Kraftwerk’s telephone, transmitting expectantly out into the void and, finally, receiving its celestial answer.
With The Sounds Of Transonic these formative pieces of music will now be available internationally and, for the first time, on vinyl.
SAISEI is a Japanese word which translates to ‘reproduction’ and ‘to play’ (as in playing records). Japanese culture is widely known for its traditional nature just as much as it is for being forward into the future and this label’s concept does justice to exactly that. Having started digging for records as early as 16 years old, Inoue delved into productions from 1990s Japan to uncover these native gems. SAISEI’s core concept is to recapture and reintroduce unique pieces of Japanese electronic music onto vinyl, to an audience it never reached before as most of this music was only released in Japan.