‘House music’, says Meda Fury, ‘is a broad art form.’ Such a statement becomes pretty evident when considered in reference to something like Takuya Matsumoto’s Ram EP. Taking inspiration from almost every flavour of house and techno going, the record often invites external comparisons, yet still defies hard-and-fast classification – a testament to Matsumoto’s singular sound.
Title track Ram gets the EP off to a techy start before slamming down the funky gauntlet layer by layer. Smooth synths offset itchy hi-hats while the minimal bassline keeps the whole composition rolling together nicely. Somewhere down the line, one can’t help but wonder if this is what a Floating Points / STL collaboration might sound like. We’ll probably never know.
Camouflaged Letter takes us into deeper, more hypnotic territory, all atmospheric synths, attentive panning and off-the-offbeat hi-hats that are guaranteed to pop even the grumpiest shoulders on the right dancefloor. There is also a cowbell. Obviously, there should be more of it, but its mere inclusion is sufficiently exciting.
Flipping the record over, Matsumoto invites us to NY NY, a sharp left turn into what might be the EP’s finest cut: a deeper-than-deep pseudo-Jazz fusion rumination, replete with crooning bass and moody guitar chords. A sexy, longing whisper repeats ‘New York, New York’ over the spacious soundscape, furnishing the song with even more emotional poignancy than the strings amply provide.
The final track on Ram serves as a nice outro; short and sweet, Requiem’s developed melodic lilt exemplifies Matsumoto’s soulful modus operandi, and promises that there’s much more where that came from if one cares to keep an ear to the ground.
For digital purchasers, there’s also a Ram dub that really shines. Far from a cheap, unmastered version of the final track, this dub is pretty much a completely different track. The bass guitar and hand drum samples work particularly well here, evoking some kind of back room Brooklyn jam session.
With promising moves from the young Meda Fury imprint and consistent quality from the ever-fruity Takuya Matsumoto, this EP will prick some ears up – including ours.