Until Deep Soundscapes, Takecha's music could be roughly split into two groups. The larger group contains dozens of New Jersey-influenced house tracks that most people know him for, killer tunes like "Kind Of Deep" and "Sax (Unreleased 1995)." Then there's the smaller batch of downtempo and ambient works, which in recent years has surfaced on albums like Takeshi Beat and Takecha Strikes Back. Deep Soundscapes is something else entirely. Its minimal arrangements and lo-fi sounds, some of which Fukushima appears to have lifted straight from the factory floor, create an overall mood that's tender and softly lit. The 12 tracks feel so of a piece it's hard to believe they were made at various points between 1990 and 2013.
The retrospective opens with "Deep Drive," a slice of sedated house that shows Fukushima's knack for eking a lot out of a little. There's isn't much to the track—shimmering synth chords hang heavily over bumpy kicks, tight snares and the occasional buzz of a bassline—yet it's compelling, each sound warm and radiant. The same goes for "Rhodes Detox," "Shufflepuck" and "Calm Imagination," three 100 BPM cuts with few elements but bags of flair. The best example, though, might be "Warm Rondo," a more upbeat deep house cut built around a gorgeous call-and-response between sad and smiley notes. It's easy to imagine it lighting up a DJ Sprinkles set.
As good as these stripped-back tracks are, the best moments come when Fukushima fleshes out his ideas. Though it only lasts two minutes, "Midnight Things" feels complete, with an earworm bassline tumbling through a summery swirl of pads and soft keys. "Genuine Innocence," the album's best and final track, is all about the bassline, too, this time a floppy yet funky number that saunters past jazzy flourishes and glistening melodies. The way the elements hang together, as if in conversation, is beautiful.
One of Fukushima's oldest friends in the music business is Soichi Terada, whose resurgent globetrotting success might have partly inspired Fukushima. Deep Soundscapes, with its soft tones and laid-back grooves, won't set the world alight like Terada's Sounds From The Far East, a record that riffed on the boisterous energy of New York, New Jersey and Chicago house. But it will turn more people onto Fukushima, a singular talent whose work has flown under the radar for far too long.