EP compilation Of Soichi Terada's work for the Ape Escape 1 Playstation game. TIP!
Outside of the international house underground, where his early ‘90s works for the Far East Recording label he co-founded with Shinichiro Yokota are rightly celebrated as bona-fide classics, Soichi Terada is best-known for his work composing music for video games. Yet until now, few of his productions for video games have been released outside of Japan, especially on vinyl.
Apes In The Net, a six-track EP featuring music composed for the popular PlayStation 1 series Ape Escape, sets the record straight. It not only showcases Terada’s quality as a composer and producer, but also his versatility. Like much of Terada’s work on the Ape Escape series, the tracks featured don’t explore deep, New York and New Jersey influenced house sounds, but rather his lesser-celebrated love of jungle and drum & bass – a sound he fully explored on 1996 album Sumo Jungle.
“The producer of the Ape Escape games heard that and got in touch,” Soichi remembers. “They asked me to make the soundtrack, and then work on the music for the sequels after that. I used to love making music with AKAI hardware samplers, synthesisers, and computers, so I played and recorded the tracks using almost the same methods as I did when I made house music. Using breakbeats and audio samples with a sampler was the most useful way to make the soundtracks.”
The six tracks on show, which were originally recorded in the ‘90s but reconstructed and remastered for Japan-only CD and digital releases over a decade ago, mix elements of Terada’s familiar deep house style – think warming chords and pads, memorable melodies, and emotive musical motifs – with blistering D&B breakbeats, 16-bit synth sounds, electronic bleeps and undeniably weighty basslines. They’ve stood the test of time and arguably sound just as fresh now as they did at the turn of the millennium.
For proof, check the soaring, spellbinding ‘Spectors Castle’, where uplifting lead lines and sumptuous chords dance atop punchy beats and growling bass, the jazzy and saucer-eyed rush of ‘Mount Amazing’ (all twinkling piano motifs, alien synth sounds, squelchy bass and skittish drums) and the intergalactic, liquid D&B excellence of ‘Time Station’, whose whistling melodies and stargazing chords are undeniably alluring.
There are plenty of other delights to be found across the EP, too, from the bustling, race-to-the-finish breathlessness of D&B/bleep techno fusion workout ‘Spectors Factory In’, and the rumbling sub-bass, creepy pads and suspenseful melodies of ‘Haunted House’, to the bombastic, all-out-assault on the senses that is ‘Coaster’, the set’s most “purist” jungle workout – albeit one that also doffs a cap to the pulsating world of big room techno.
Apes In The Net, then, celebrates Soichi Terada’s mastery as a video games composer and early Japanese junglist. Props are well and truly overdue.