When it first slipped out in 2015, Manabu Nagayama’s ‘Light & Shadow’ passed most people by. Yet it’s a genuinely overlooked gem a musically expansive and uplifting Japanese deep house workout that first featured on a promo-only compilation back in 2015. A softly spun slab of slow-building brilliance full of fluid piano motifs, heady hand percussion, the track effortlessly sashays between heartfelt dancefloor melancholia and tactile deep house positivity. One DJ to see its potential was Rush Hour co-founder Antal Heitlager, who asked Masalo to remix it. Over ‘a few years’, Masalo worked on the revision in bursts, tweaking it and subtly altering the arrangement until he was happy. The results are undeniably impressive, elevating an already excellent track to whole new levels. DJs seem to agree, too, with Masalo’s fine remix becoming something of an underground anthem following the release of a limited number of white label test pressings earlier last year.
Taking the spiritual end of deep house as his inspiration – and happy memories of attending events while visiting Japan – the Dutch-Japanese producer has delivered a slowly-building epic that subtly ratchets up energy and excitement throughout, while effortlessly eking out every last drop of emotion from Manabu’s piano-laden production.
Extensively road-tested at the Brighter Days parties he runs with long-time DJ partner Kamma, Masalo’s remix settles into a chugging groove before introducing Manabu’s tactile hand percussion – a staple of spiritual deep house cuts – and melancholic piano refrains, as well as his own lilting chords and cascading synth sounds. By the time the original’s bouncy piano riff drops midway through, you’ll be lost in the music. Fittingly given the quality of Manabu’s original, it’s a revision that showcases the track’s best elements while gently lifting it to new heights.